The family of Nikosis Jace Cantre will have to wait two more months before the teen girl who killed their baby boy is sentenced.
Provincial court judge Sanjeev Anand told the family and killer he will announce his decision on whether to sentence the teen as a youth or adult on Feb. 27.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting,” he said.
The teen killer pleaded guilty in October 2016 to second-degree murder. She admitted to walking into baby Nikosis’ room on the night of July 3rd that year and beating the baby to death with punches, kicks, and choking.
Since she was 16 at the time of the murder, she can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The girl, now 18, spoke to open court for the first time at the end of Friday’s hearing.
“I’m truly sorry for doing this,” she said through tears.
“I really hope I never have to go through this again … If this happened to my baby I’d be really devastated.”
Jeffery Longman, baby Nikosis’ grandfather, said they don’t accept the apology.
“There’s no ‘sorry’ for what you did,” he said. “Sorry isn’t going to bring him back.”
The Crown is advocating for an adult life sentence for the girl. Defence is looking for a youth sentence, arguing the teen exhibited behaviour closer to that of a child than an adult.
“This was an unsophisticated, brutal and senseless murder,” defense lawyer Brian Pfefferle told the court.
“She demonstrated devastatingly foolish behaviour.”
The lawyer said the fact the teen didn’t try to escape the house after the beating suggested she didn’t understand the consequences of her actions and showed there was no planning.
He referred to the teen’s fetal alcohol syndrome disorder diagnosis, saying the condition combined with her lack of parental figures through her life has left the girl disadvantaged and underdeveloped.
However, psychological reports submitted by the Crown paint a slightly different picture.
The court heard the teen has a long history of violent acts — ranging from squeezing the life out of a stolen mouse from a pet store, to nearly killing a 10-year-old cousin by giving them morphine pills.
A representative from a federal rehabilitative program said they determined the girl wouldn’t learn from treatment.
While staying at Paul Dojack Youth Centre after the Nikosis Jace murder, she was also overheard on multiple occasions saying “it was just a baby.”
The Crown, with some agreement from the judge, contended the uttering indicated a lack of remorse.
Judge Anand discussed openly with the lawyers through closing arguments, and made the point that the criminal justice system serves partially to protect society.
He said there are “safety valves” within the system, including the option to sentence youth to longer adult sentences.
PROCESS DIFFICULT FOR FAMILY
The arguments capped off an emotional hearing, which began last week with a brutal confession video from the teen.
Throughout the sentencing proceedings, the family cried and often left the courtroom.
Some, including Nikosis’ mom Alyssa Bird, were unable to read their own victim impact statements Thursday.
“It’s been really difficult,” Jeffery Longman, Bird’s father, said. “I cry every morning when I wake up, I cry every night when I go to bed.”
He reaffirmed the family is demanding an adult sentence for the killer.
“My wife’s brother has FASD, and he knows not to hurt kids,” he said.
An adult sentence would keep the teen behind bars for at least seven years, after which she would have to prove to the parole board she isn’t a danger to society.
A youth sentence would carry a maximum of four years behind bars, followed by three years of probation.