"I’m sorry for ruining your life."
"I wish I could take back what I did."
"You didn’t deserve to get shot."
These were some of the words heard today in Meadow Lake court from the teen who shot 11 people, killing four in La Loche in January 2016.
In a prepared statement, the teen spoke about each of the victims. He also addressed family members of those affected, and to some of those who shared their victim impact statements the first week of court proceedings. The youth cannot be named due to provisions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The two-week hearing was to determine whether the convicted will face sentencing as an adult. Today, June 16, was the final day of the defence's submissions.
The teen spoke about his victims and at times addressed them personally in court. He said he did not know one of the men he kiled — 35-year-old teacher Adam Wood, but he said that he was ‘not a target’ and that he heard in court how Wood was a ‘good person’.
He said that if he could speak to slain 21-year-old teacher’s aide Marie Janvier, he would “tell her that I’m sorry I shot her. I didn’t know you but I heard you were very bright and very helpful and very kind.”
Speaking to La Loche Community School's assistant principal Phyllis Longobardi, he told her: “You helped me at school…you helped me get my learner’s licence…I’m sorry for what I did… you are a good person.”
When speaking about Dayne and Drayden Fontaine he became overwhelmed with emotion, and needed to take a moment of pause before getting out his words. He said the brothers “didn’t deserve to be shot."
“A lot of the time when I’m sitting in my cell – I talk to them, I wish I could see them,” he said.
Many of those present in the courtroom wept openly as the youth spoke.
On October 28, 2016 the teen pleaded guilty to the second-degree murders of the Fontaine brothers, who were shot in their home. He also pleaded guilty to the first-degree murders of Wood and Janvier and seven other counts of attempted murder.
Earlier today, the court heard from neuropsychologist, Dr. Monty Nelson, who assessed the teen last year and spoke with him last evening.
In his early assessments, the teen was rated to have an IQ of 68 per cent, placing him in the bottom two percentile for those in his age group.
Nelson said the teen has significant trouble coping with complex issues, and that his personal style was to downplay struggles or stresses.
During a meeting yesterday, Nelson said the teen told him he wishes ‘he was closer to people in recent years' and added he was nervous about having to speak in court.
“It’s never been that easy for him to express emotion,” Nelson said. “He expressed his concern today that people might see him without much expression and think that he didn’t really give a s***t, but that he does give a s***t.”
In his cross examination before teen read his statements, Crown prosecutor Lloyd Stang said he was ‘skeptical’ of the teen's remorse, especially since others testified he showed none at all. Nelson said he went through the teen’s written statements last night, and they seemed genuine to him.
Following court, defence lawyer Aaron Fox said he took issue with Stang’s comment.
“In my view it’s a sincere effort by him to speak publicly about something in which he is very sorry, struggling still to deal with himself,” Fox said. “He hopes that, for some of the victims, it will help.”
In comments outside of court, Stang reiterated the grave seriousness of the crimes and said the youth’s advanced age is a reason why Crown is seeking an adult sentence.
Judge Janet McIvor set the date for the lawyers’ final arguments for August 25 in Meadow Lake. While the date for sentencing has not yet been scheduled, McIvor said it would likely happen in La Loche.
La Loche Mayor Robert St. Pierre expressed concern about the location choice, and said he would like to consult with the community first.
“There’s some mixed emotions,” the mayor said outside of court.
St. Pierre said he will update the court before proceedings resume in August.
On Twitter @ReporterKath
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