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St. Albert's Hunter Duncan sentenced to life for woman's brutal strangulation death

Duncan, 26, had 31 prior convictions, dating back to 2016, with nine of them relating to spousal or domestic violence.

St. Albert resident Hunter Duncan has been sentenced to life in prison for the December 3, 2019 killing of Breianna Schamber.

The 25-year-old woman was brutally strangled in a home in the Duggan area of Edmonton.  

The court heard that he committed a break and enter, theft and fraud to buy drugs and fraudulently engaged Schamber in a sex for money while scheming to defraud her.

The medical examiner testified the strangulation murder was particularly violent. He said Schamber’s body had massive blunt force injuries and significant hemmorhaging to her head, that her pancreas and bowel were injured, vertebrae were dislodged, and that Duncan might have knelt on her torso.

Duncan, 26, had 31 prior convictions, dating back to 2016, with nine of them relating to spousal or domestic violence. He had a history of four cases of non-compliance with court orders concerning domestic partners, as well as arson, break and enter, assaults, and breaches involving alcohol and weapons. In January 2020, he pleaded guilty to a batch of offences, including strangulation, from before Schamber’s murder.  

Crown prosecutor Domina Hussein noted an escalation of violence in his behavior.

An ITRAC report on Duncan by the RCMP concluded he was at high risk for future violence and

intimate partner violence. His former girlfriend testified he had terrorized and attempted to strangle her.

The court heard that despite an unremarkable childhood in which he was well-loved, Duncan was a violent drunk, prone to strangulation and harming vulnerable women, and that he refused to treat his alcoholism even though he was aware of its effects. 

Schamber’s family testified about the impact her death has had on their lives: Her son, now eight-years-old, a child without a mother, her siblings left without the guidance of a big sister. Her boyfriend, depressed and traumatized with persistent sleep issues and sickening images from discovering her dead body.

The court heard that while in a holding pen at the Edmonton Remand Centre, Duncan was jumped and beaten by inmates after Schamber’s boyfriend, also in the same holding pen, told others in the pen what Duncan had done.

Justice R. Paul Belzil delivered the sentence on May 29 in the Court of Kings Bench in Edmonton.

Duncan has no prospect of parole for at least 16 years, and will be entered into a criminal DNA database.