James Gloade, 25, sat in a packed courtroom Friday, forced to listen to the painful tales of family members impacted after he killed his grandmother, Nora Bernard, by slitting her throat.
At times he rubbed his eyes and trembled, but for most of the lengthy provincial court hearing, he sat with his head cradled in his hands, eyes to the floor, before finally being sentenced to 15 years in prison.
“Knowing that one of mom’s grandchildren went in there and caused her so much pain and damage is heart-wrenching to say the least,” Janice Blenkhorn, Bernard’s youngest daughter, read from her victim impact statement.
“I felt sick to my stomach knowing that the lips that kissed him and all of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were busted, and that the hands that held him and all of us were so damaged that they could not be crossed in her coffin to hold her prayer beads.”
Bernard, 72, a native elder and activist, was slain in her home during the night of Dec. 27, 2007, by a drug-crazed Gloade who had stopped by to try to get money to supply his habit.
Gloade was described in court as a “defiant, dangerous and deadly” person with a lengthy criminal record who continues to use drugs while in jail.
He was sexually abused as a young boy by members of his biological father’s family, who also introduced him to drugs at about age 11.
Crown attorney Nigel Allan, who had called for a 20-year sentence, described the case as “the most extreme kind of manslaughter, falling just short of second-degree murder.”
Defence lawyer Stan MacDonald had suggested a 10-year sentence. He said his client is remorseful for the crime, keeps a picture of Bernard tucked away in his cell and prays to her for forgiveness.
“I apologize to my family and I am ashamed of what I did,” Gloade told the court. “I’ve got to live with it for the rest of my life. I’m sorry.”