The sentencing in a second-degree murder case for which the accused pleaded guilty has been adjourned due to an incomplete Gladue report.
“My understanding is that the Gladue report had some delays in it due to lockdowns and other issues with it,” Justice Erin Cullen said during what was supposed to be a court appearance for Kerry Burke’s sentencing this morning.
The court is working to ensure “all the necessary parties have been consulted by the report writers and they have had opportunity to provide information.”
Gladue reports provide information about an Indigenous person’s background for the court’s consideration prior to sentencing, and can include suggestions about appropriate sentencing. They are typically 25 pages or longer and take between six to eight weeks to prepare.
Burke’s Gladue report was ordered on May 10, which was almost 11 weeks ago.
Defense lawyer Glenn Sandberg affirmed the Gladue report is important due to the seriousness of the charges, which Cullen agreed with.
During a court appearance in May, Burke pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the Oct. 19, 2020, death of his brother, Brant. The court heard Brant was found dead, face down on top of a .308-calibre rifle and had two gunshot wounds, one to the upper left back and the other to the posterior left shoulder. They had been hunting moose on a trail in Wikwemikong First Nations unceded territory, near Killarney.
Brant’s wife, Melissa Sheridan of Sudbury, is charged with first-degree murder in the case, and will appear at the Sudbury Courthouse at 10 a.m. in room B on July 26 for a preliminary hearing. She is accused of planning with Kerry to kill Brant and offering him $10,000 and a home to “get rid of the problem.”
Sheridan and Kerry were alleged to have been engaged in a sexual relationship.
Although Kerry has remained in custody since his arrest, Sheridan was released on bail in December 2020. She is being represented by Toronto lawyer Michael Lacy.
Melanie Burke, Brant’s oldest daughter, told Sudbury.com in May that it was “beyond frustrating” to see Kerry plead guilty with the lesser charge of second-degree murder after being initially charged with first-degree murder.
Kerry’s Oct. 26 sentencing will include eight victim impact statements, Crown attorney Terry Waltenbury told the court today, including two to be delivered via Zoom calls from British Columbia.