EDMONTON - Nyibol Choul escaped a brutal civil war in one of the world's most unstable countries, survived militia attacks in a refugee camp and finally made it to Canada, where she died at the hands of her husband, on the blade of a knife.
She was three months pregnant with another man's child.
On Monday, John Dum Both, 43, admitted he stabbed the 27-year-old Sudanese refugee to death and dumped her body in a ditch on the outskirts of the Edmonton.
He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germain sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 10 years, the mandatory minimum sentence for the crime.
In court Monday Both looked shattered, his face expressionless, his eyes red.
The couple came to Canada in 2003 as refugees from Sudan, a country at civil war for more than two decades.
They brought Chuol's two young nephews with them, because her two brothers and their wives were presumed dead after militia attacks on the Ethiopian refugee camp where they all lived.
For three years the family prospered in Edmonton, Both working at a bakery to support the family, Choul taking English lessons at a local school. They became part of the city's tiny Nuer community.
But the relationship was troubled. Court heard Monday Choul wasn't coming home to her husband some nights. By the fall of 2006 he knew she was pregnant with another man's baby, but she wouldn't tell him who. On Sept. 6, a friend saw them fighting in the car.
Choul was never seen alive again.
According to the agreed statement of facts, he stabbed her at least five times, twice in the chest.
Then he took placed her body in an overgrown highway ditch and covered her with grass and leaves.
The next day, Chuol's cousin, Nihal Deng Awer, came by the house and told Both he was going to call police to help him find her.
Both followed him out to his car and slashed him with a kitchen knife.
He was immediately arrested and charged with aggravated assault.
The boys were taken into foster care, and Children's Services launched an investigation.
Homicide detectives became involved after Both confessed the crime to others in the Nuer community.
Ten days after the killing, they found her badly decomposed body, and charged Both with second-degree murder.
The boys, then eight and 12, spent a full year in foster care before they were sent to live with family in Australia; through the Nuer diaspora, the family had learned the parents of one of the boys were still alive.
"Now that I know he killed my Aunty I miss her and feel very frightened that he will come and get me," the younger boy wrote in a victim-impact statement read to the court.
"I feel scared that he will come and kill me or my family in Australia too. Please don't let him come to Australia."
In a victim-impact statement, Deng Awer said his serious arm injury forced him to drop out of school, stop working and quit his soccer team. At 21, he is now struggling to make ends meet and attend school in Edmonton.
Both also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault Monday, for slashing Chuol's cousin.
He will be required to give a DNA sample to the national registry and was handed a lifetime weapons prohibition.
Because he is a refugee, if he serves 10 years and is granted full parole, Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board can detain him and take steps to have him deported.
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