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Woman who stabbed Castlegar teens gets 6 years

A woman who stabbed two Castlegar teenagers in an unprovoked attack in February 2021 has been sentenced to six years in prison.

With credit for time served, Sasha Prokaski, 31, has another five years and 11 days to serve.

Judge Rob Brown handed down the sentence in Castlegar Provincial Court this morning, saying Prokaski committed a “senseless, cruel attack on vibrant and defenseless teenagers.”

Prokaski entered an unlocked home in February 2021 and slashed the teens repeatedly, resulting in life-altering injuries to one and psychological damage to both.

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Prokaski was originally charged with attempted murder, but pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and breach of conditions. She received six years on the first count, three years on the second, and 30 days on the third, to be served concurrently.

Brown said aggravating factors included that the crime involved a prolonged, random attack on innocent teenagers with a knife, while mitigating factors included Prokaski’s guilty plea, her lack of previous criminal record, the fact that the attack was not planned, her remorse, and the violence and intergenerational trauma she has been a victim of.

However, Brown also found that Prokaski is a risk to reoffend and does not have a genuine commitment to treatment for substance abuse.

Crown counsel had sought an eight-year prison sentence while the defence countered with a request for two years minus time served plus three years of probation. Brown ruled a fit sentence in other circumstances would have been seven years. He also rejected Prokaski’s request that the sentence be served in the community.

She was additionally given a 10-year firearms ban and required to provide a DNA sample.

Court heard on the night of the incident, she had come from the homeless shelter a few blocks away, where she told staff the world was ending and she was going to die, and tried to get at the shelter’s knives. They called an ambulance, but she left before it arrived and started knocking on doors of a nearby seniors complex.

She then broke into the home of the grandmother of one of the girls, where they were having a sleepover. She ranted about people knowing too much, that she needed to kill herself, and that they needed to die.

She tried to stab one of the girls in the chest, but she escaped and went for help. Prokaski stabbed the other girl repeatedly in the neck, hands, face, ribs, shoulder, and arm, resulting in permanent disabilities.

Prokaski was eventually arrested behind the seniors complex. Although she was not found to have a mental disorder, she was undergoing treatment for drug abuse. Released on bail, she was re-arrested three times for violating her conditions and leaving treatment without permission.

The judge recounted how Prokaski is of party Indigenous heritage, both her parents had alcohol problems, and she moved frequently as a child. She was a victim of family violence and eventually became addicted to crystal meth, which resulted in delusions including voices that commanded her to hurt others and herself.

In victim impact statements, one of the girls recounted how she suffers from anxiety, and sleep and mood disorders, among other struggles. The other was once a high-level gymnast with national aspirations, but the attack affected her balance and ended her dream. She suffers flashbacks and post-traumatic stress has consumed her life.

After sentencing, the mother of one of the girls told reporters she was disappointed with the outcome.

“I was definitely hoping for at least seven years,” she said. “I knew that was shooting high, but I was really hoping for seven.”

However, she was the judge took their victim statements into account and that they could face Prokaski, who appeared by video link.

“It had to be done. It was difficult. She needs to hear what she’s done to us, to my daughter, to our family, our friends, to the community.”

Sentencing was delayed by about an hour when Prokaski’s lawyer was a no-show.

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