The man who stabbed and killed a woman at Edmonton City Centre mall apologized in a courtroom on Friday.
Earlier this year, Elliot McLeod pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 33-year-old Sheri Lynn Gauthier.
According to an agreed statement of facts, McLeod and Gauthier did not know each other. On Feb. 12, 2020, they were seen on CCTV footage walking together at Edmonton City Centre mall and they went into the parkade. When Gauthier had her back to McLeod, he stabbed her. He turned around to leave and then came back and stabbed Gauthier two more times.
Gauthier was able to get up and walk to the basement of the mall and get help. She later died in hospital from blood loss.
McLeod left and could be seen on other CCTV cameras taking off his clothes and hiding the knife.
On Friday, court heard Gauthier was a mother of four and that she had lived a rough life. She faced addiction issues and lived on the streets.
Victim impact statements submitted to the court talked about how kind and loving Gauthier was.
A friend said in her victim impact statement that “(Gauthier) was selfless and wouldn’t hurt a fly … She was loving and caring to everyone around her.
“Sheri’s life was taken so short in such a heinous, heartless way … She had a rough life and then she had her life robbed from her.”
One of Gauthier’s children also submitted a statement.
“I can’t believe you could take such a beautiful soul from me … She was so amazing, so beautiful. She loved so hard,” the statement said.
“As much as I would like to say … I can’t forgive you for what you’ve done, I forgive you and I hope you can turn your life around and be better for others. I hope you can love like my mom loved.”
The judge will be considering a Gladue report in McLeod’s sentencing. It will take into account his Indigenous background, intergenerational trauma and the physical and sexual abuse he faced when he was a child.
The defence stated that McLeod was doing meth for four days straight prior to the attack.
McLeod addressed the court and, through tears, said he was sorry.
“Believe me when I say, I wish I could take back what happened,” he said.
“I was high on drugs … and I didn’t know what I was doing, and there is nothing I can do to change that.”
McLeod also told the court he will someday pay the full price for what he’s done.
“I will deserve it … I accept my punishment.”
McLeod said he is a “calm man” when he’s sober, and when he is released he plans to stay sober.
The Crown is asking for a 10-year prison sentence. The defence is asking for five-and-a-half years.
The judge is expected to hand down his sentence on Jan. 31, 2024.