The Crown called it a “brutal and vicious,” premeditated assault.
Justin Jordan didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal.
“He only got a couple of stab wounds, a couple of stitches,” Jordan said Monday during his sentencing hearing at provincial court in St. John referring to fellow inmate and suspected killer Trent Butt.
In the end, Judge David Orr thought the assault inside the walls of Her Majesty’s Penitentary (HMP) warranted a sentence of three years and two months. With credit given for time served, it leaves two years and three months left on Jordan’s term.
“The nature of the injuries were not as serious as they could’ve been,” Judge David Orr said in handing down his sentencing decision. “(Butt) suffered no lasting effects.”
The attack happened June 8, 2017, in the garden at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (HMP) while inmates were taking part in recreation time.
Jordan, who was there serving a sentence for assault at the time, used a five- to seven-inch-long homemade knife, made from a portion of an exit sign, to attack Butt, who is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing his five-year-old daughter, Quinn, in Carbonear in April 2016.
In the surveillance video from the prison garden, Jordan is seen rushing towards Butt and making several thrusts at his body. He thrown to the ground by corrections officers moments later.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Jordan had gotten past the metal detector with the shank by lying to corrections officers, saying that some time ago, he had a metal plate surgically inserted in one of his hands and that was what was setting it off. The weapon wasn’t detected in a physical search either.
Butt’s shirt soaked with blood after the assault and he was treated by HMP medical staff. In all, he required six stitches for wounds to his left shoulder and back. He didn’t require any further medical treatment.
A corrections officer reporter he later heard Jordan tell Butt, “I should’ve killed you when I had the chance.”
In Jordan’s first court appearance on the charges, he said to reporters, “Hands in the air for baby Quinn.”
Jordan — who represented himself after firing two lawyers — was originally charged with attempted murder, but pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and breaching court orders.
He had attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, stating it was made involuntarily because he was coaxed into it by one of his lawyers. The judge, however, didn’t allow the change in plea, pointing out that Jordan didn’t fill out an application to chance his plea, despite being told several times.
The judge’s denial prompted an outburst from Jordan. When calmed down, he said he would appeal the decision, “to the high court.”
Prosecutor Jason House said Jordan was displaying vigilante justice by attacking Butt and has shown little remorse. He said he has a lengthy criminal record and hasn’t shown he can be rehabilitated, and as a result, he should get a jail term of between 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 years.
Jordan, who often smiled and laughed throughout proceedings, said the Crown’s suggestion of jail time was too much.
While Orr said such an institutional offence was significant, he said, “At 27 years old I don’t think the possibility of rehabilitation should be ruled out.”