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Lorraine Obed sentenced to 4½ years for Carter's Hill slaying

Lorraine Obed will serve 4½ years behind bars for a manslaughter conviction, a Supreme Court justice decided Thursday.
A woman sits in a courtroom, arms folded and resting on the railing in front of her.
Lorraine Obed, 30, pleaded guilty in October to manslaughter for the 2021 slaying of 49-year-old James Corcoran. (Malone Mullin/CBC)

Lorraine Obed will serve 4½ years behind bars for a manslaughter conviction, a Supreme Court justice decided Thursday.

With credit for time already served, Obed, who was also sentenced to three years' probation and is required to complete substance use, anger management and mental health programming, will be out in about 10 months.

Her sentence was less than the six to seven years recommended by the Crown due to the hardships described in a Gladue report, which requires judges to consider the unique experiences of Indigenous offenders, such as the impacts of systemic racism, colonialism and intergenerational trauma.

Justice Glenn Noel didn't shy away from listing those hardships in his decision Thursday afternoon. 

"She has lived a remarkably difficult, tragic life," he told the court. 

Obed cried quietly in the dock as he noted she had lost her mother at the age of three, started drinking alcohol at the age of six and suffered severe abuse in several foster homes.

"From Day 1 the system has failed Ms. Obed," Noel said, turning to her. "I want the sentence I impose to lay the hope for your future."

Corcoran 'loved with his whole heart'

Obed pleaded guilty last year to killing her ex-partner, 49-year-old James Corcoran, after prosecutors produced an overwhelming body of evidence showing that she stabbed Corcoran on Cabot Street in 2021.

That evidence included eyewitness testimony and doorbell camera video that showed Obed repeatedly striking Corcoran. The lethal blow to his chest severed a vein and punctured a lung, with some wounds 10 centimetres deep.

The killing shocked residents of the area, with one telling CBC News at the time she stayed with the victim and held his hand while waiting for paramedics to arrive. Other onlookers tried to revive Corcoran with CPR, but he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by police.

cop car at night
Corcoran died where he collapsed after Obed stabbed him and punctured his lung. Doorbell camera video captured the attack. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Witnesses said Obed had been drinking and using cocaine before Corcoran arrived, and the two had an altercation.

They also said Obed danced in the street after stabbing Corcoran, saying, "I finally did it."

Obed had told an undercover officer that Corcoran was violent and abusive, and had been stalking her at the time his death, but Noel noted he had no charges related to those allegations. 

His daughters said he'd suffered his own hardships, and "loved with his whole heart."

Diminished culpability

Obed has been in jail for about about 2½ years already, and gets three years and eight months' credit for time served.

She has fetal alcohol syndrome, substance use disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, which in conjunction with her difficult upbringing diminishes her moral blameworthiness, according to Noel's decision.

People close to her have described Obed as caring, open and eager to make others laugh.

"It is apparent from the Gladue report there is a lot of good in Ms. Obed," Noel said.

"With help and assistance you can become the kind, loving person the people who know you have described you to be when not under the influence."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Malone Mullin is a reporter in St. John's who previously worked in Vancouver and Toronto. News tip? Reach her at malone.mullin@cbc.ca.

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