An Ottawa man who pleaded guilty earlier this year in the beating death of his adoptive mother was sentenced to life in prison yesterday.
Aaron Howard will be eligible for parole in 11 years.
“I can’t ever express how sorry I am,” Howard, now 20, told Superior Court Justice Lynn Ratushny from the prisoner’s box.
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“I feel torn inside, like a part of me is dead. I feel worse because I did it myself.
“I want to apologize to everyone and tell you I do feel remorse.”
Howard was 19 when his adoptive mother, Deborah Frankel-Howard, 61, was found beaten to death inside their Gage Crescent home in the city’s south end on June 15, 2007.
Police issued a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest after they were unable to locate him. He turned himself in to police in Manitoba on June 20.
He was in court within several days and entered in a plea of guilty on second-degree murder charges on March 26 this year.
“Aaron wanted to get this done sooner than later,” said defence attorney Robert Meagher.
When Ratushny handed down the sentence yesterday, she said she took into consideration Howard’s previous lack of a criminal record, his youth and his remorse.
Meagher read a letter written by Howard dated December 16, 2007.
“I live everyday with nothing but the deepest sorrow and regret,” the letter stated.
Howard said he knew his mother wanted the best for him.
“I owe her my life and more. I miss her so much and think about her everyday.
“I realize I must be punished for this, which is why I stopped running,” he wrote. He asked for a chance to redeem himself after his punishment.
“You can’t change what happened, but you can change yourself and live up to your mother’s expectations for you,” said Ratushny.
She also sentenced Howard to a lifetime ban on possession of firearms and ammunition and ordered him to submit a DNA sample.
“I thought it was fair under the circumstances,” said Meagher after the sentencing.
Howard will remain in Ottawa for the next 30 to 45 days, at which time he will be transferred to Kingston for assessment.