The grandfather of six-week-old Nikosis Jace Cantre fought back tears as he considered what he would say, if given the chance, to the teenage girl who pleaded guilty to murdering the newborn.
“I’d just ask her, ‘Why did you do it? Why? Why would you do such a horrible thing to such a innocent child?’ That’s what I’d say,” said an emotional Jeff Longman outside Saskatoon provincial court minutes after the girl pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the July death of Baby Nikosis.
In a courtroom filled with family members and supporters of Nikosis, the girl — who was 16 years old at the time of the baby’s death — entered her plea Wednesday. The youth did not make eye contact with anyone in the gallery, keeping her head cast down and her hands over her face.
Longman said “it hurts every day” since the July 3 death of Nikosis. “Destroyed from everything. Wake up every day in pain wondering how he is, how he should have been. I got no words that can explain how I feel. No words can explain. He was just a baby. Six weeks old.
“All I see is hate. I wake up with anger,” he said.
“It’s hard to wake up everyday,” Longman later added. He fought back tears as he thought about things “everyone needs to see,” like a child’s first Christmas or Halloween, which Nikosis and the family will not experience together.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Longman said.
In July, the Crown announced it would be seeking an adult sentence if the 16-year-old girl was convicted of second-degree murder. Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Crown may apply for young persons convicted of serious crimes to be sentenced as an adult. The great-grandmother of Nikosis said she wanted the girl to go to jail “for life.”
Longman said the family still firmly believes the teen should be sentenced as an adult.
“Sixteen years old. You should know better,” Longman said on Wednesday. “He has no voice to speak so I’m his voice … He couldn’t even fight back. Couldn’t yell for help. My daughter was sleeping in the next room when this all happened. She was sober. She didn’t even hear a thing that night. Maybe (the teen) held his mouth. I don’t know. When you’re 16 years old, you should know better.”
Family members of the boy have said the accused teen was a stranger who relatives met in downtown Saskatoon on July 2. They said the teen had nowhere to go and was invited back to a house on Waterloo Crescent. She was arrested the next day after Nikosis was found injured inside the home and police were called around 7 a.m. The baby later died in Royal University Hospital where he died as a result of his injuries.
The teen cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The Justice Ministry confirmed the teen walked out of the Kilburn Hall Youth Centre at about 12:45 a.m. on July 2. She had been serving a 10-month open custody sentence, which allows young offenders to leave if they choose because the Youth Criminal Justice Act prevents them from being locked inside. Once a youth leaves, however, he or she is charged with escape lawful custody.
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