The man who slammed an Edmonton mother to the ground and strangled her for more than four minutes as her children looked on last July has been sentenced to nine years in prison by an Alberta Provincial Court judge.
Rockie Rabbit, 31, pleaded guilty in December of 2021 to aggravated assault and overcoming resistance by choking.
The pleas followed a violent, methamphetamine-fuelled attack on a 39-year-old woman who was picking up her children from a downtown daycare and was recorded by a security camera.
“The CCTV footage displays frighteningly uncontrolled and brutally vicious assaultive behaviour,” said Judge Carrie Sharpe in sentencing Rabbit to nine years on each count.
“This is yet another horrific example of the scourge on the community caused by methamphetamine.”
The sentences are to be served concurrently, and with 1 1/2 credit for time already spent in custody, Rabbit has just under eight years left to serve.
Sharpe noted the “vicious, random, and unprovoked” nature of the attack and how the CCTV video showed Rabbit strangling her for nearly 4 1/2 minutes.
She also cited the psychological damage witnessing the attack imposed on the two children.
“Young, innocent children should never be put in a position where they are fearful for their safety and the safety of their families,” reads Sharpe’s ruling.
“The senseless violence perpetrated by Rockie Rabbit did just that.”
The sentences outweigh the six-year term sought by Crown prosecutors and three years incarceration sought by Rabbit’s lawyer.
“This is a case much closer to near murder than to near accident,” Sharpe ruled.
In a victim impact statement, the woman says she is terrified to leave her home, does not sleep well and how her children refer to the incident repeatedly.
Rabbit prepared a letter of apology acknowledging how close he came to killing her and indicating that he feels regret, guilt and embarrassment at his actions.
‘VERY NEARLY CAUSED HER DEATH’
An agreed statement of facts from Rabbit’s December describes how the woman was walking along 111 Street near 105 Avenue to collect her three children from Seven Stones Daycare.
Rabbit tried to pull off a grey backpack she was wearing, asking her, “did you kill my daughter?” and demanded to know where the girl was.
Reading from the statement, Crown prosecutor Mark Fernandes recounted how she tried to pull away from him, but he slammed her to the ground with both hands before mounting her and alternating between strangling her and punching her in the chest and stomach.
Two of her children, aged six and eight years old, “cried hysterically” as they saw the attack through the glass daycare door, according to the statement.
Court heard how when police arrived they found Rabbit on top of the mother, still strangling her. He was arrested and later admitted to police that he had consumed methamphetamine before the attack.
The attack left the woman unconscious with a tennis-ball sized hematoma on her head and shallow breathing. Her face had also turned blue and she was foaming at the mouth.
Her husband ran to the scene from their family’s home about a block away and was “distraught,” according to court documents.
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