The woman who entered a Castlegar home and stabbed two teen girls on Feb. 21, 2021, was sentenced to six years in custody by Judge Robert Brown at the Castlegar Courthouse on Dec. 13.
Sasha Prokaski, 31, was originally charged with two counts of attempt to commit murder, two counts of uttering threats and one count of break and enter for the attacks. She was later charged with several counts of breaching bail conditions. In May of this year, she pleaded guilty to two lesser counts that included aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
Brown ordered six years for the aggravated assault charge, three years for assault with a weapon and 30 days for the breach of conditions charge, with all sentences to be served at the same time.
Prokaski has already served 236 days and with the standard credit of 1.5 times the days served added she was credited with 354 days, leaving five years and 11 days left on her sentence.
The mother of one of the victims says the sentence is disappointing, as she was hoping for at least seven years.
“Hopefully, at least there is some closure with this portion of it,” the mother, who can not be named due to a publication ban, told reporters in a post-decision interview.
She also talked about sharing their experiences during the sentencing hearing that took place on Nov. 23.
“It was nice to be heard and for all of us to be seen and to face her. It was difficult, but I would do it every time — she needs to hear what she has done to us, what she has done to my daughter, what she has done to our family, what she has done to our friends, what she has done to this community.”
The night of the attack, Prokaski entered a home where the two teenagers were sleeping. An altercation ensued with both teens being stabbed, and one of the pair receiving multiple serious stab wounds. Prokaski and the victims, whose identities are protected under a publication ban, did not know each other.
The courtroom was filled with the victims, their families and friends. Prokaski appeared via video link. Court was called into session at 9:30 a.m. but the session was delayed after Prokaski’s lawyer, Blair Suffredine, failed to join in by video or respond to calls.
More than an hour later court reconvened with a different lawyer standing in for Suffredine.
Before reading his sentence, Brown recounted the events of the night the attacks occurred.
Prokaski began showing signs of aggression at The Way Out Shelter, where she was staying at the time. Shelter employees heard her making statements about the world ending, that she was going to die, and was behaving in an agitated manner. Prokaski then tried to access the shelter’s knives.
Shelter employees asked her if she would be willing to go to the hospital and when she agreed, they called an ambulance. But Prokaski left the shelter before the ambulance arrived and began knocking on doors at a nearby senior’s complex.
Prokaski then moved down the block to a set of townhouses. She found an unlocked door at the home where the two victims were sleeping on couches in the living room.
Once inside, Prokaski began ranting about people knowing too much, that she needed to kill herself and that the teens needed to kill themselves.
Prokaski then stabbed one of the victims in the chest, but the knife hit the underwire of the victim’s bra instead of flesh and the victim was able to escape out of the house and went to seek help.
The second victim was also able to get out of the house, but Prokaski knocked her down and got on top of her. She held the knife over her head saying, “Die, die, die.”
The victim fought back, but received stab wounds on her neck, face, hands, shoulder, forearm, leg and near her ninth rib.
Police found Prokaski near Kinsmen Park, about a block from were the attack took place, with the knife and clothing hid nearby.
The judge also reviewed the toll that the attacks had had on the victims and their families.
The victim with the most severe injuries was left with a permanent disability. Before the attack the teen was a competitive gymnast, but the injuries have left her with mobility issues and no hopes of rejoining the sport.
Both girls continue to struggle with the mental and emotional consequences of the attack including anxiety, sleep problems, flashbacks and difficulties with social interactions. Their parents and grandparents have also been gravely affected.
In explaining the reasons for his sentence, Brown stated that the unprovoked attacks had turned “a sleepover into a nightmare,” causing debilitating physical and emotional injuries and significantly altering the lives of the victims.
He said the prolonged attacks aimed at vital areas of the body and their potential to be life-threatening were aggravating factors in determining the sentence.
He also said he thought Prokaski has a risk of relapse into the drug use that precipitated the attacks, partially based on her breaking bail conditions on three separate occasions since her arrest.
On two occasions Prokaski left her treatment facility. On the day after she pleaded guilty to the assault charges, she broke a requirement to stay at least 25 kilometres outside of Castlegar, attempted to disable her monitoring device and was found in the company of someone with a known substance-use disorder.
Brown said Prokaski had not exhibited a genuine commitment to treatment and that she has a risk of re-offending or causing harm again.
He cited several mitigating factors to his sentence including inter-generational trauma through Prokaski’s parents and her Indigenous background. Prokaski’s mother attended a residential school and had substance-abuse issues.
Prokaski was also a victim of violence, becoming pregnant as a teen after a sexual assault. She has four children between the ages of six and 15, but does not have custody of any of them.
It was after she was separated from her youngest child that she became homeless and became addicted to crystal meth.
Brown said the mitigating factors “result in a reduction of moral blame worthiness.”
Brown said Prokaski reports she does not remember the attacks or gave any reasons for committing them, but does recognize the affects they had on the victims.