Family upset after plea deal reduces murder charge to manslaughter
Published Monday, December 17, 2018 1:25PM AST
Last Updated Monday, December 17, 2018 9:05PM AST
The family of a Nova Scotia woman who was killed in her home three years ago is upset with the plea deal offered to -- and accepted by -- her alleged killer.
They've waited a long time for justice, but they say there is no justice in this.
“She was a part of our family, and we loved her, and we miss her so much,” said Edna Lyons, who is talking about her niece Nicole Campbell.
The 33-year old Campbell was found dead in her New Glasgow apartment on Dec. 30, 2015.
Robert Jason MacKenzie, 38, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Lawyer dismissals and legal issues held things up in court for nearly three years.
“(It was) really difficult, and for her children, it's even worse,” said Lyons. “Seeing them growing up without a mother.”
Another aunt, Anne Lawrence, said it’s been a long wait.
“We lived it and lived it,” she said. “We need closure now. We need this all to end.”
MacKenzie was supposed to go to trial on Jan. 7, but the Crown and defence reached a plea agreement. The deal reduces the charge from murder to manslaughter in exchange for a guilty plea. Crown Attorney Patrick Young said the agreement takes into account “the relative strengths of the Crown's case and the weaknesses of the Crown's case, and the strengths and weaknesses of proposed defence evidence.”
Some members of Campbell's family say what happened Monday was not the justice they were hoping for.
“No, it'll never be justice,” Lawrence said. “No it wasn't, and it's just too … I know he's not going to get much time. I just, how can he? He's just making a plea.”
Judy Fraser, another of Campbell’s aunts, said “we're disappointed in some ways in the justice system, but all we want is for him to spend some federal time.”
The judge has asked that a pre-sentence report, and victim-impact statements, be prepared. MacKenzie's next court appearance is schedule for Feb. 20 when he will be sentenced.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.