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7 1/2 years for 'unprovoked' fatal assault

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

23-year-old Mohamed Yusuf

It was “unprovoked, reckless, brutal and senseless” when Mohamed Yusuf punched Sean Murphy off his bicycle then kicked him as he lay helpless and fatally injured on the ground, a judge said Tuesday.

But Judge Lynn Ratushny was just as shocked by what Yusuf and his friends did next that night.

They didn’t call for help. They didn’t go to the police.

And in a “particularly repugnant” act that shattered the seasoned judge’s “hope that these young people would have possessed some moral compass,”  one youth stopped to pick a convulsing Murphy’s pocket. 

Yusuf had already walked “nonchalantly” away after giving a friend a high-five.

It’s a “complete lack of conscience and empathy” Ratushny called “disturbing and alarming” as she handed the 23-year-old 7 1/2 years.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Murphy’s Aug. 2008 death in March.

They didn’t know each other but both men had been drinking at a Merivale Rd. bar that night.

Murphy, 51 and slight, left on his bicycle, riding towards Yusuf who was standing outside a nearby Mac’s Milk with his friends.

Yusuf approached, punched Murphy to the head, knocking him to the ground, then stomped and kicked him in the head and body.

Murphy, whose family describe him as happy-go-lucky with a live-and-let-live attitude, never regained consciousness. He died 21 days later.

“Sean Murphy was a man at the wrong place at the wrong time and he lost his life for no reason,” Ratushny said.

“Mr. Murphy’s life was worth so much more than Mr. Yusuf accorded it.”

Ratushny said she had to balance Yusuf’s youth and status as a first-time offender with a string of aggravating factors.

Granted “generous” bail, the high-school dropout loafed at home and repeatedly breached conditions then skipped court and went on the lam.

Nor did she believe Yusuf’s prisoner’s box apology to the Murphy family and his own mom, who raised five kids — the rest in university or on their way — alone after fleeing war-torn Somalia.

“There are no assurances that he will not offend again, with violence and without conscience,” Ratushny said.

It’s that lack of conscience that most disturbs Sean Murphy’s dad, Ross.

It mean his son – “everyone’s friend” – didn’t get immediate help. His injuries were attributed to a bike accident until loved ones saw boot prints on his face.

“The guy is knocked down on the ground and in convulsions and nobody in this group did anything to help,” Ross Murphy said.

“That’s sickening.”

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