Man who stabbed girlfriend to death challenged 38-year term.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld for the second time a 38-year prison sentence for a man who stabbed his girlfriend to death and intended for the victim's teenage son to find her body.
An Anoka County jury convicted Raymond Robideau of killing Sharon Chouinard in their East Bethel home in January 2008 after a domestic dispute. Her 14-year-old son, who was in his basement bedroom, found her body in her bedroom the next morning.
Robideau challenged the extra time added to his sentence, but it was upheld by an appeals panel. In March 2011, however, the state Supreme Court sent his case back to the district court for re-sentencing, ruling that one of the aggravating factors the trial court judge used to justify the lengthier sentence -- that the crime was committed in the presence of a child -- was only meant to cover situations "where the child sees, hears or otherwise witnesses some portion of the crime."
Robideau again received 38 years. The aggravating factor, the district judge said, was that Robideau knew the teen was in the house and likely would find the body first.
Robideau again appealed, arguing that the pertinent aggravating factor would arise from child endangerment, a crime with which he was not charged. On Monday, the Appeals Court called that argument "absurd," noting Robideau was not the teen's caretaker at the time of his mother's murder.
The court rejected Robideau's claim that whatever actions he took to ensure the teenager would find the body were separate from the murder itself.
"The treatment of the body of a murder victim is part of the murder, because a murder inevitably causes a dead body and the murderer's disposition of the body can impact the seriousness of the crime," Appeals Judge Stephen Muehlberg wrote.