“I hope to see my daughter again, I hope to hold her again and say sorry for not protecting her.”
Those words were said defiantly as Hannah Leflar’s mother Janet faced the now 19-year-old who murdered her only child.
It was part of an emotional Friday afternoon in court as the sentencing hearing to determine whether the teen should be sentenced as an adult entered its final phase.
One by one aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and grandparents spoke, whether through the Crown lawyer or directly, to describe the loss they have felt since Hannah was murdered.
“They say heaven needs another angel. Bullshit. These parents need their angel with them,” said Doug Lapchuk, a friend of the family. “They are on the edge of an abyss with loneliness, despair and depression and every day they still have the reality of Hannah’s death.”
Lapchuk, a volunteer firefighter with CPR training, described himself as having to mediate critical situations and openly cried as he read his statement.
Heather and Dan Josephson, cousins of Hannah’s father Jeff Leflar, asked the killer why he continued to show no emotion.
Throughout much of the statements read, the teen stared straight ahead.
“You have robbed us of graduations, her falling in love, her having a career and getting married,” Heather said. “We think of her final moments, frightened and defenceless.”
The manner in which Hannah died, stabbed to death at the foot of her mother and stepfather’s bed, and what she may have been feeling in her final moments echoed throughout much of the statements.
“I am sick to my stomach to learn of the details of how she died, you cannot unread or unsee that,” Sharon Leflar, Hannah’s aunt, said.
Describing it as “a vicious, planned, evil attack,” Hannah’s aunt Dorothy Lariviere said she suffered “an undeserved, real death.”
Looking directly at the killer, Marnie Davies described Hannah as being “finally safe, no one can hurt her again.”
Hannah’s grandparents had their statement read by the Crown lawyer, describing her as a sweet kind girl, “their pain unbearable.”
Many family members referred to the fact her grandparents had already buried a child.
A FATHER’S LOSS
The biggest impact came from her parents who were the last two statements read.
Holding his wife, Lore, Jeff cried as she read the prepared statement.
“Our pain is so raw, so real, we don’t think we can go on,” Lore said, clutching onto a tissue. “We pray we are reunited, only then our pain will end.”
Lore said Hannah was awarded the best student in Grade 10.
“She never collected her award.”
Lore went on to describe the many what-ifs that now overwhelm them.
“Hannah graduating, becoming an electrician as she hoped to be, her saying, ‘I’m getting married,’ her father walking her down the aisle, having a baby and us becoming grandparents,” Lore said.
Detailing the difficulty of family events like Christmas “with Hannah’s empty spot,” Lore talked about the different world they are now living in, filled with grief and anger.
A MOTHER’S PAIN
Hannah’s mom Janet gave the final statement as the silence in the courtroom was broken only by sobs.
“You took my only child,” Janet said, looking straight at the killer. “I will never see her as an adult, there is only a blank wall.”
Detailing the life she and her husband Wade Anderson, the man who found Hannah on that fateful afternoon, have led since the murder.
Janet said because of depression she hasn’t worked, ending a 12-year career she had built. She takes medication every day in order to sleep.
“I am bitter and angry.”
The couple has suffered financial hardship as a result. Professional cleaners were brought in to “get the blood out of the carpet.” The master bedroom is now downstairs. They are close to ruin as they prepare to sell a home “that a 16-year-old was murdered in.”
Janet spoke of feeling pity for the teen killer who “clearly didn’t receive unconditional love,” but said any pity has gone because of what he did.
Looking directly at the killer, Janet told him “wherever she is, you won’t be going there.”
Turning back to the judge, Janet asked, “Show him no mercy.”
And with that she turned back to the arms of her family, telling the killer to “burn in hell.”
Through it all, the teen sat stone-faced showing no obvious, outward emotion and stared straight ahead.
Justice Jennifer Pritchard, who ultimately makes the decision on sentencing the teen as an adult, thanked the family for their statements and acknowledged the challenge it would have been, not just to write the victim impact statements, but to deliver them as well.
On Tuesday, Pritchard will hear the closing argument from the Crown and defence.