08 Dec ‘He’s just sorry he got caught,’: Guilty plea in fentanyl case
“It’s the day every parent’s worst nightmare became my reality. It’s the day I found my baby boy’s lifeless body in his bed, an image that will haunt me forever, an image no parent should ever have to see,” Denise Lane read to the court on Friday, delivering the first of three victim impact statements.
Lane described what happened to her 23-year-old son Shawn Kelly Jr. on April 10, 2017, after she and her daughter found him, having overdosed on a mixture of fentanyl and heroin.
Ryan Walker sat in the prisoner’s box, head bowed down, listening to the family describe how Kelly’s death has left gaping holes in their lives.
He’s accused of selling his friend the deadly drugs which ultimately took his young life.
“He mixed the drugs he sold him, and he’s just sorry he got caught, not sorry that my son is dead,” Lane told CTV News outside of the Barrie courthouse.
Today, Shawn Kelly Jr.’s mother, father, and sister Megan heard the one word they have been waiting to hear: ‘Guilty.’
Walker, who was 23 at the time of Kelly’s death, pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and criminal negligence causing death. The latter charge was downgraded from manslaughter, after Walker, now 25, agreed to testify for the Crown against his co-accused, a 55-year-old taxi driver, who police allege was using his cab as a front to sell drugs.
“Ryan didn’t proceed with his preliminary trial. He didn’t put the family through the stress of hearing the details. He fessed up to it, and that in itself shows a great deal of remorse,” says Walker’s defence lawyer David O’Connor.
Walker’s mother, Jennifer, says Kelly and her son were both addicts who needed help. She says Ryan is remorseful for what happened.
“I am so sorry for your loss, that very well could have been my son,” says Walker’s mother. “I can only imagine the grief that you are going through. I hope this brings you some kind of closure, I really do.”
Shawn Kelly Jr. has two young boys, just three and four years old.
“The hardest is with his sons,” says Lane. “Looking for daddy, he’s sitting at home in an urn, and they come and talk to him and tell him that they miss him. But they don’t understand that they can’t take an airplane to go to heaven to see him.”
The Crown is asking for four to five years behind bars for Walker, minus time served.
Both of the accused in Kelly’s death will be back in court in the New Year. Walker is expected to be sentenced on January 23, while the trial for his co-accused, Tahir Ali, will also continue in January.