A jam-packed courtroom in La Loche heard Judge McIvor’s decision today: The now 20-year-old shooter who killed four people and injured seven others in La Loche in January 2016 will be sentenced as an adult on March 16, 2018 in Meadow Lake.
Once the courtroom was at capacity, no one else, including media and other community members were permitted in the building and the front door was locked. Court workers cited security concerns as the reason for the closure.
The shooter who was 17 at the time of the shootings, pleaded guilty to several charges in October 2016 including two counts of second-degree murder for killing brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine in their home. He also was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for killing Adam Wood, 35, and Marie Janvier, 21, and attempted murder after shooting and injuring seven others.
Crown prosecutor Pouria Tabrizi-Reardigan said an adult sentence was warranted, given the seriousness of the offence.
“I hope there can be some closure at this point,” he said. “This was a very tragic event. We felt we could make an application for an adult sentence because there were very compelling reasons for it. We appreciate that the court listened to our submissions.”
The shooter’s lawyer, Darren Kraushaar said he was disappointed with the result, given the fact of the youth’s cognitive challenges and his apology in court. He said his client and the client’s family are obviously saddened by the decision, but said the young man was prepared for the possibility.
“Our role was to put all the information before the court to help her make a decision,” he said. “Obviously we’re not happy with the decision but we accept it. He was apprehensive about it, facing the community where this happened.”
While the normal length and sentence is life in prison with chance of parole in 10 years, defence said they would be possibly making submissions as to where the convicted shooter will serve his sentence.
Phil Elliott is a grandparent of one of the students shot at the school. He said he was grateful for the adult sentence.
“It’s not going to bring back the dead and it’s not going to heal those still hurt, especially psychologically,” he said. “There’s still a lot of pain and grief going on. We’re a small community where everybody knows everybody and it’s hard to watch people that were friends of ours walk out knowing that their loved one is going to spending a long time [in prison]. It sure wasn’t part of their life plan for him.”
La Loche Mayor Robert St. Pierre said La Loche is a strong community that has been faced with a number of tragedies, and will need to work together to live on from this incident.
“The world needs to learn from what’s transpired here, so that we don’t have these tragedies continuing,” he said.
On Twitter: @BattlefordsNOW
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