Cape Breton man guilty in veteran's death sentenced to 15 years in prison
A Cape Breton man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of an elderly war veteran has been sentenced to 15 prison years in prison, minus time served.
“If I could trade places with him I would,” Raymond Glenn Farrow told the court Tuesday afternoon. “I’m sorry.”
Harold (Buster) Slaunwhite was found dead inside his home on Brooke Street in Dominion, N.S. on Sept. 10, 2006.
The court heard Tuesday that paramedics found Slaunwhite in a pool of blood in his bedroom and that a knife was found at the scene.
An autopsy found that the 82-year-old man -- who had served as a medic during the Second World War -- died as a result of multiple sharp-force injuries.
The Crown said Tuesday that Slaunwhite was known to keep large amounts of money in his home and he had withdrawn $1,000 from the bank the day before he died.
The court heard that Slaunwhite and Farrow knew each other, and that Farrow admitted to stabbing Slaunwhite after an argument. He then took $700 from the home.
However, Farrow wasn’t arrested until December 2016, following a 10-year investigation into Slaunwhite’s death by the Cape Breton Regional Police and the RCMP.
“It was very serious to them,” said Crown attorney Steve Melnick. “They were able to continue on with their investigation and finally with the advent of DNA, and the increased abilities of DNA testing, they were able to find Mr. Farrow and charge him.”
Farrow was initially charged with first-degree murder, but the 51-year-old man pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter in August.
Several members of the victim’s family attended Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, including Slaunwhite’s grandson, Gerard Slaunwhite, who read a victim impact statement.
“You have taken away precious moments and you have created pain in our family,” he told Farrow. “My grandfather’s blood and death is on your hands.”
The defence told the court that Farrow had a drug addiction at the time of Slaunwhite’s death and that he had serious medical issues. Farrow is a double amputee and has suffered two heart attacks while in custody.
“We're just happy that it’s over right now and the family can get some closure and we can move on,” Slaunwhite said after the sentencing. “It's been very tiring, very sad and we're just glad it's over.”
The agreed statement of facts noted Farrow had a drug addiction at the time of the murder, but on Tuesday Farrow addressed the court by saying he can't blame the death of addiction because “it was me that did it.”
That was little comfort to the victim's family.
“We will never forget my grandfather,” Slaunwhite said. "He meant so much to many of us."
The Crown and defence had recommended a joint sentence of 15 years in prison.
“Looking at the case law, looking at cases similar to this with violence in them, the 15 years is rather a high end for manslaughter, so we're satisfied,” said Melnick.
Farrow was given 975 days credit for time served. The maximum penalty for manslaughter is life in prison.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore