“Everyone wants to know why.”
This was the response the teenager gave to his case worker Chris Hales at Kilburn Hall in Saskatoon when asked the question of why he did what he did. The teen fatally shot four people and wounded seven others in La Loche on January 22, 2016,
Hales was called as one of Crown prosecutor Lloyd Stang’s final witnesses in the sentencing hearings for the youth who pleaded guilty to the second-degree murders of brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, and to the first-degree murders of teacher Adam Wood and teacher’s aide Marie Janvier.
The youth’s identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, as he was 17-years-old when the shootings took place. He also pleaded guilty to seven counts of attempted murder. The hearings are to determine whether or not he will be tried as an adult.
Over the course of the last year, Hales had several different discussions with the teen, including the fact the teen told Hales that he got an ‘extreme scary rush when pulling the trigger’ as referenced by Dr. Katelyn Harker yesterday. Hales also recounted that the youth told him he was ‘messed up’ and ‘obsessed’ with watching videos of mass shootings online.
In March of 2017, Hales noted that the youth was having an off night, and was upset about having killed Dayne and Drayden. He reportedly slipped a note under his door with "f--- life" written on it, including a drawing of a stick figure with a gun pointed at its head. Hales said that following this incident, the youth chose to be placed in a holding cell, where he was checked on every five minutes and monitored by video camera.
On June 2, 2017 the shooter was reprimanded and placed in a higher security program at Kilburn for ‘bragging’ to others in the facility that he was ‘dangerous’ and that ‘jail’ was ‘fun.’
During cross-examination from defence lawyer Aaron Fox, Hales noted that the youth gets more visits from family than Saskatoon residents of Kilburn Hall. He also said that he has made some academic and behavioural improvements since being at the facility, but that he still needs ‘encouragement to complete assignments.’
In the afternoon, the Crown had Jennifer Peterson – the coordinator for the Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision (IRCS) program – take the stand. The IRCS program specializes in therapeutic programs and services for youth with mental health needs who are convicted of a serious violent offence.
She had been a part of a committee who decided that the youth would not be an appropriate candidate for the special program, as he is nearing the age when a youth would have to be transferred to an adult facility – which is the age of 20. The youth is 19.
After the Crown had wrapped their case in court, Judge Janet McIvor brought up the fact that Fox had sent a letter requesting a Gladue report, which is a detailed report that is used to take into account circumstances facing Indigenous peoples.
In an interview with media following court, Fox said that as facts came out, he felt that a Gladue report would be crucial information for Judge McIvor to have in making her decision.
“It’s pretty clear there's some history there that we think is relevant,” he said. “This is just too serious a matter not to have that covered off. So we think we can get the report done in fairly timely fashion… the whole purpose of this sentence hearing is to get as much information out in front of the judge as possible.”
Fox also noted that an accused person when they’re sentenced has a right to make a statement to the court, and if the youth was to speak in court, that would happen this coming Friday. June 16.
Fox will be calling defence witnesses on Thursday and Friday.
With the Crown’s case has now concluded, Stang said following court that the content of the evidence that was presented will help the judge in her assessment.
“We think of course that it is appropriate for an adult sentence to be imposed," Stang said. “Given his advanced age for a young person, the extreme seriousness of the offences and the extremely serious and grave impact that it had on the community and victims.”
Dates for the final arguments have not been set.
On Twitter @ReporterKath
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