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Troubled man faces prison for stabbing
22-year-old flew into a fit of rage, punched and stabbed victim multiple times

Daniel Campbell
Northern News Services
Published Friday, September 6, 2013

Dean Ruben's lawyer says his client has developmental disorders, schizophrenia and suicidal thoughts, and that he wants counselling and help with his issues.

But today Ruben, 22, could be facing up to two and a half years in prison for stabbing a 44-year-old man 14 times with a switchblade.

On the night of Nov. 29, 2012, Ruben was in a Fort Gary apartment unit with his mother, Nancy Ruben, brother Tyson Ruben-Boucher and a number of other individuals. Ruben was mildly intoxicated and others were smoking marijuana and drinking.

His brother Tyson got into an argument with another man over cigarettes in a bedroom. Some of the other individuals ganged up on the other man and, in the ensuing melee, Tyson was knocked out cold by the man.

Ruben came into the bedroom to see his younger brother knocked out and flew into a fit of rage. He punched the man once, then pulled out a switchblade and stabbed the man multiple times.

The victim was hospitalized for 10 days, with three fractured ribs, stab wounds to his cheek, back, hips and chest.

On Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Marc Lecorre argued that Ruben should face up to two and a half years in prison for the aggravated assault. He also wants Ruben to serve two years of probation after his time in prison. Ruben pleaded guilty to the crime Aug. 6.

"He's lucky no vital organs were hit or we'd be dealing with a homicide," Lecorre said.

The victim, now recovered, sat in court Wednesday as the facts of the incident were read.

Defence lawyer Paul Falvo offered a motive for Ruben's assault, arguing Ruben disliked the victim for introducing his mother to crack cocaine. He also noted Ruben "overreacted" when he saw his brother being attacked.

Falvo told the court Ruben suffers from numerous mental health issues, many stemming from his traumatic upbringing. A pre-sentence report noted Ruben has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and suicidal thoughts. Ruben also says he hears voices from his dead grandmother telling him to do bad things.

"Looking at his background, it's safe to say it would be a wonder if he hadn't done certain criminal things," Falvo said. "He was defending his brother, but he acknowledges that he shouldn't have brought a knife to a fist fight."

Pictures of the victim after the incident were shown to territorial court judge Bernadette Schmaltz during the proceedings. Falvo said his client described the pictures as "brutal" and felt sorry for his actions.

Falvo asked for an 18-24 month sentence for Ruben, minus the 278 days he's already spent in custody.

Ruben, wearing a green T-shirt and grey sweatpants, stood before Schmaltz to say some final words after his lawyer's submissions.

"I just want to say I do feel remorse," Ruben said softly. "If I could turn back time, I'd walk away from that situation."

Schmaltz reserved her decision to look over the prosecution and defence submissions. Ruben will be sentenced this morning around 9:30 a.m.

Ruben's brother Tyson pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon on Aug. 13. He will be sentenced on Sept. 11 in Yellowknife territorial court.

Nancy, 38, was originally charged with aggravated assault following her December arrest. Her charge has been downgraded to simple assault. She is scheduled to appear in Yellowknife territorial court on Dec. 10.

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