The man who stabbed and killed 24-year-old Cody MacLean in February has been sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.
Logan Raymond MacAusland, 20, was sentenced Wednesday afternoon in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown.
He had pleaded guilty at an earlier court appearance to second-degree murder in the incident. A life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years is the mandatory minimum sentence for second-degree murder in Canada and the judge said it's the most common penalty handed down for second degree murder.
"It was senseless, in a moment of uncontrolled anger," said Chief Justice Tracey Clements. "The loss is indescribable."
"All of us struggle to understand the extent of this tragedy. This is an incredibly tragic case," said Clements. "The loss is profound. Mother, brothers and other family members will carry this loss for the rest of their lives. Mr. MacAusland will also carry this for the rest of his life."
During a previous court hearing, MacLean's family told the court his death means MacLean's two-year-old son, Lennon, will grow up without a father. MacLean was studying at Holland College at the time of his death.
Clements acknowledged that MacAusland is a member of the Lennox Island First Nation and has struggled with mental health and addictions issues.
"The fact that he is an aboriginal offender is particularly significant," she said.
A report prepared for the court referenced intergenerational trauma related to residential schools attended by family members. It said MacAusland had been exposed to alcohol and substance abuse, hunger and abandonment during his teen years. All of this caused unhealthy addictions as a way to deal with the trauma of childhood, said Clements.
Two men had been friends
Court heard earlier that the two men had known each other for three years and had been friends. They were both involved in the Strength youth addictions program and had lived together for several months at the Summerside facility.
I realize your loss will be with you forever. — Chief Justice Tracey Clements
The family told the court in a victim impact statement that MacLean became addicted to pain medication after getting treatment for a hockey injury.
The night of the stabbing, the pair had been to several bars in downtown Charlottetown. MacAusland had some methamphetamine and went to a house to sell some of the drugs, which MacLean, 24, was carrying.
During the transaction, MacLean took off suddenly, MacAusland caught up with him and the two men started arguing. MacAusland knocked MacLean to the ground, stabbed him in the chest seven or eight times, reached into MacLean's jacket and removed the drugs, then ran off. MacLean died a short time later in hospital from his injuries.
Police arrested MacAusland about an hour after the stabbing. He was violent with officers who took him into custody, head-butting and biting one, punching another and spitting in the faces of two others.
Judge explains sentence
In passing sentence Clements described the stabbing as "senseless, ferocious violence" that took MacLean's life in his prime. She also took into account MacAusland's lengthy criminal record, starting at age 13, which includes a number of assault convictions.
In his favour is MacAusland's young age and his remorse, Clements said. He was quoted in a report prepared for court as saying, "I am morally culpable for my actions. I know what I did was wrong."
MacAusland will serve his sentence at a federal prison, off-Island. In addition, he's banned from possessing any weapons for the rest of his life.
"You are a young man which makes rehabilitation a goal. Our system strives, often unsuccessfully, for the rehabilitation of offenders. It is not lost on me the abuse you have suffered in life," said the judge.
She also addressed the MacLean family, saying, "My hope is you may have some measure of peace with the passage of time. I realize your loss will be with you forever."
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