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Family, friends, and supporters gathered outside Mile End High School in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges district to remember 16-year-old Jannai Dopwell-Bailey, who was attacked on October 18, 2021, and later died. His mother, Charla Dopwell, emphasized that her son was not involved in any gangs and was simply a student at the school. The teenager was attacked as he exited the school and was declared dead shortly after being taken to the hospital. Andrei Donet was found guilty of second-degree murder in Dopwell-Bailey’s death in a recent trial, while a minor who was also charged in the killing was also found guilty of second-degree murder in 2023.

During the trial, witness testimony revealed that Donet used pepper spray on Dopwell-Bailey during the attack, and it was the minor who repeatedly stabbed the victim. Witnesses described hearing the victim’s screams, a mix of pain and surprise, during the assault. Surveillance video shown in court depicted Dopwell-Bailey running back into the school after the attack, leading his mother to walk out of the courtroom in tears. She expressed the immense pain of seeing her son’s last moments on screen, knowing he was no longer alive.

Following the jury’s guilty verdict, family members and supporters of Dopwell-Bailey expressed a sense of relief. Dopwell’s godfather and cousin, Kevin George, stated that there is always concern that perpetrators of such crimes may evade justice, but the guilty verdict provided some hope. Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with parole eligibility between 10 to 25 years. Dopwell’s mother hopes that the sentencing will be reflective of the severity of the crime and provide closure for her and her family.

Community members, including Charlene Hunte, who also lost a son to murder in the past, offered their support to the Dopwell-Bailey family. Hunte empathized with Dopwell’s pain and urged her not to blame herself, emphasizing the importance of taking care of oneself and living on in the memory of their loved ones. As sentencing hearings for Donet are set to begin in late May, the community continues to rally around the family, offering comfort and solidarity during this difficult time. They seek justice and closure for Jannai Dopwell-Bailey and hope that the perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.

The tragic death of Jannai Dopwell-Bailey has left a profound impact on his family and the community, who continue to mourn his loss and seek justice. His mother’s heartbreaking plea for a fitting sentence for the guilty parties underscores the pain and suffering caused by the senseless act of violence. As the community comes together to support the family during the sentencing hearings for the perpetrators, there is a shared hope for accountability and closure. Dopwell-Bailey’s legacy lives on in the memories of those who loved him, and the support from family, friends, and community members serves as a source of strength during this difficult time.

The devastating loss of Jannai Dopwell-Bailey has raised important discussions surrounding youth violence and the need for intervention and support systems for at-risk individuals. The senseless act of violence that took his life has sparked outrage and calls for justice within the community. Through the outpouring of support for the Dopwell-Bailey family and the determination to seek accountability for his death, there is a sense of unity and solidarity among those affected by this tragedy. As they navigate the legal process and sentencing hearings, they continue to honor Jannai’s memory and advocate for a safer and more compassionate community.

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