Raw emotion and many tears filled a Calgary courtroom on Monday as friends and family of murder victim Brett Wiese, 20, shared the immense pain and grief they’ve endured since losing him.
Wiese’s mother Brenda addressed the court at her son’s killer’s sentencing hearing. She spoke about her son’s loving character, sharing that not only was he intelligent but he was also kind, a trait she was always proud of.
In closing, she spoke directly to her son’t killer, Mitchell Harkes, 26, saying she holds Harkes “100 per cent responsible” for her son’s death.
“It is because of you my son is dead,” she said. “Although you have taken my son from me… you can`t take away how proud I am of him.”
“You will never understand what it feels like to see your child in a casket,” she continued.
Brenda joined Wiese’s father Jody, sister Morgan and other family friends who spoke about the vacant hole left behind since his death.
Harkes’ family was also in the courtroom, fighting back tears when Harkes himself addressed the court.
Sobbing through tears, Harkes told Wiese’s family he is deeply sorry for their loss and the role he played in the death.
“There are no words to describe the magnitude of remorse I feel,” he sobbed. “Brett Wiese was a pillar of society and a person that all people — young and old — aspire to be like. If there was a magic word I could say to bring him back, I would have said it a million times by now.
“I am so sorry for your loss and I’m so sorry for the part that I played,” he said.
For a second time, Harkes was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2013 death of the University of Calgary student. The original conviction was overturned. In May, a jury found Mitchell Harkes guilty in the murder.
Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence but what still needs to be decided is parole eligibility for Harkes.
The Crown asked for 15 years before he can apply for parole, while the defence sought 10 years.
Wiese’s mother told Global News that her family is looking forward to finally getting the closure they need and coming to the end of a lengthy journey, calling Monday an “extremely exhausting” day.
Harkes is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday morning.
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