Fort Good Hope man sentenced to 7 years for 2017 killing

·2 min read

A Yellowknife judge has sentenced a Fort Good Hope man to seven years in custody for manslaughter, but said the man should be allowed to serve his time in a northern jail instead of a southern penitentiary.

Justice Andrew Mahar sentenced Cotlen McNeely Wednesday morning.

The 27-year-old was charged with murder in the death of Lloyd Edgi three years ago, but found guilty of manslaughter.

"But for intoxication and other issues that came out, this would have been second-degree murder," said Mahar, who did not specify what other issues he was referring to.

During McNeely's trial it came out that the night of the killing, both men had been drinking. In a jealous rage, the larger Edgi assaulted McNeely, leaving him with a bloodied nose.

Shortly after, McNeely retrieved a hunting knife and traced Edgi's steps up a darkened pathway. McNeely testified that he just wanted to talk to Edgi, who he said he considered a friend, but said Edgi attacked him again.

He pulled out the knife and stabbed Edgi nine times in the chest area. He died at the scene. He was 28 years old.

"Regardless of his somewhat muddied intentions, this was clearly a reckless and dangerous act," said Mahar of McNeely's decision to get a knife and attempt to talk to Edgi.

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"This was a gross overreaction to the situation he found himself in."

Forgiveness needed to heal, mother says

The sentencing decision came two days after relatives of Edgi gave heart-rending statements about the impact Edgi's death has had on them.

They spoke of the depression, suicidal thoughts, addiction, fear and emptiness his death left them with.

"They are profoundly affected by the loss of Lloyd Edgi and we were profoundly affected by their victim impact statements," said prosecutor Blair MacPherson.

"They show that this is a close-knit family and the family is still grieving the loss of this man."

Family members described Edgi as a devoted father, a person who was the life of family gatherings and a good provider.

Edgi's mother, Vivian Edgi-Manuel, said she has to forgive McNeely to help her deal with the grief of losing her only son.

After Wednesday's sentencing, Edgi's father, Curtis Manuel, said the family's focus right now is on the two young children Edgi left behind.

After sentencing McNeely, Mahar said he hoped Edgi's relatives can eventually get "to a place where some limited amount of forgiveness is possible. And I hope Colten can one day forgive himself."

With credit for the time he's already served, McNeely has just under four and a half years left on his sentence.

Mahar recommended that McNeely serve his time in the North, describing him as a "vulnerable inmate."