“I was shocked like everyone else,” the mother of the teen shooter who killed four and injured seven in La Loche on January 22, 2016 said.
“Sometimes as parents, we are unaware of the struggles our children have. I’m a victim…I have feelings too,” the mother said.
The mother of the youth cannot be named. Identifying her would identify the teen whose name is protected by a publication ban under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Today, May 19, is the fourth day of a sentencing hearing in Meadow Lake where a judge is set to determine if the now 19-year-old should be sentenced as an adult. On October 28, 2016, the teen pleaded guilty to the first-degree murders of teacher's aide Marie Janvier, 21, and teacher Adam Wood, 35. In addition, he is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, who were shot in their home. He also pleaded guilty to seven counts of attempted murder.
Yesterday, court also heard from Drayden and Dayne's mother Alicia Fontaine, and some other staff members at the school.
Alicia said she's angry at the event but not the shooter. She said if the school had a stricter policy on bullying, things could have been different.
“My babies are gone, but at least they’re in a place where there’s no pain,” she said.
Another teacher’s aide who was shot that day said she can’t go places without thinking it will happen again. Before finishing her testimony she looked in the shooter’s direction and asked: “Why me? What did I ever do to you?”
A teacher who said he spoke with the accused the morning of the incident about an essay also had words for the teen in court. While on the stand he looked at the shooter and told him he was proud of his progress that semester.
“Instead of keeping your promise to me, you went on a killing spree,” he said. “I was closing doors and helping secure the school while you were hunting us. Anytime I walk through the halls [of the school] I think of that moment.”
The remainder of the video of the shooter’s interview with police was played for the rest of the day. At one point in the video, the investigator asked him if he planned to kill the two brothers in their home.
“Why did you kill [Drayden and Dayne]?” the investigator said.
“I asked myself that, too,” the accused responded.
“Do you feel that the school wronged you over the course of time?” the investigator continued.
“Would you do it again?”
“How does it I feel that you killed [Drayden and Dayne]?”
“I regret it…”
“What would you tell them now.
“That I’m sorry, man.”
During the interview, the shooter broke down in tears when discussing this topic, and said he didn’t plan on killing the brothers, but that he did plan to shoot the kids in the school.
At the end of the nearly seven-hour-long video the youth was allowed a five-minute call with his mother.
In comments after court adjourned, defence lawyer Aaron Fox said a police interview of that extent is atypical after a guilty plea. However in this case he said he understands its relevance to understand a criminal event of this magnitude.
“I take [the interviewers] comments at face value, like what are the flags that you should be watching out for, the indicators to how this happened, so this doesn’t happen again. We didn’t raise an issue to the admissibility of it,” he said.
He added that at the time of the interview — one day after his guilty plea — the youth would have already been receiving counselling and medication.
“It’s not quite the same as if would have interviewed him in January, 2016,” Fox said. “Nonetheless it does still give you a picture of what was going on in his world… [he] has some cognitive and social issues.”
Fox said many members of the La Loche community have forgiven the youth.
“It frankly does say a lot about the community,” he said. “I know that there’s a concern about the stigma that might be attached to the community… but one of the positives that has come out of my experience with this is seeing the incredibly big hearts a lot of people do have up there.”
More witnesses are expected to testify today.
On Twitter: @meadowlakeNOW
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