A crying Tammy and Kevin Goforth stood and said sorry as sentencing submissions were made in court Friday.
The lawyers told the court the two have been in protective custody since their conviction last Saturday because of death threats.
That information elicited little sympathy from someone in the public gallery who was heard once to say, “you’ll be killed”.
Tears flowed from the accused and victims’ families throughout the three hours court was convened as victim impact statements were read.
Crown lawyer Kim Jones read a statement from the girls’ parents that said “I will never watch her go to school”.
Another family member wrote, “we have been in turmoil, they are a broken family that is now broken for life”.
Another wrote, “I look and I see her scars, and I know what happened, she will never have her sister”.
Justice Ellen Gunn then turned her attention to the two convicted to see if they had anything to say to the court.
“I am sorry, I am so sorry,” Tammy Goforth said, addressing the girls’ mother through tears. “I didn’t mean for it to happen, I cannot imagine as a mum the pain you must be going through, I ask for your forgiveness.”
At that point the emotion from the public gallery spilled out as the girls’ mother yelled out, “you should have taken them to a doctor, you should have given them back”.
Gunn waited for silence to fall before she allowed Tammy – who at times was barely audible through her tears – to continue.
“I am sorry with all my heart. I will carry the burden of this with me every day. It will never leave me.”
Someone from the public gallery yelled out, “good”.
Wearing a blazer and shirt, Kevin stood up next to address the court reading from a written piece of paper.
Offering a sorry and condolences to all involved, Kevin took full responsibility, and said, “I hope and pray for your forgiveness”.
“I hope you find some closure in the fact we are in jail,” he stated through tears.
There was once again a heavy presence of police and court sheriffs both inside and outside court.
In his submission, Crown lawyer Kim Jones reminded court of evidence that the girls were malnourished and injured over a “prolonged period of time”.
He argued Tammy’s moral culpability was very high and this case involved, “unspeakable acts of cruelty.”
“One is left to ask why this took place. It is unfathomable,” he said.
Convicted of second-degree murder, Tammy received an automatic life sentence. Jones argued parole eligibility should be set between 18 to 20 years.
The Crown is also asking for a life sentence in relation to Kevin’s manslaughter conviction.
Jones argued Kevin also had a high moral culpability because “he had the opportunity to do something and chose not to”.
The Crown suggested his parole eligibility should be seven years into his sentence.
The Crown was also seeking an eight year sentence to run concurrently for the Goforth’s unlawful bodily harm conviction.
The defence presented court with several letters of support for the Regina couple from family, friends, pastors and professors from both the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan.
Defence lawyer Jeff Deagle described these events as being uncharacteristic of Tammy who was a stay-at-home mom with no previous criminal record.
Deagle asked the Crown for parole eligibility to be set at 10 years and for a sentence of three to five years in relation to the unlawful bodily harm conviction.
Noah Evanchuk, Kevin’s defence lawyer, asked the court for anywhere from 30 months to eight years for the manslaughter conviction and made no submission in respect to the other conviction.
Both lawyers made reference to the remorse shown by the couple and told court they took responsibility for their actions almost from the beginning. A plea deal was offered but was rejected by the Crown.
Court sanctions have meant the couple has not lived together since their arrest. They have only seen each other with counsel present and have only been allowed supervised visits with their three children since August 2012.
Gunn will deliver her sentence decision March 4.