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Forty-three victim impact statements entered in sentencing hearing for man convicted in Nathan Deslippe’s death

Ashley Charters (left), a friend of Nathan Deslippe and a former partner of William Joles, stands outside the courthouse next to Nathan's mom and sister, Mona Lam-Deslippe (centre), and Jessica Deslippe (right). Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

Despite the pain and the sadness caused by Nathan Deslippe’s brutal death, the 27-year-old’s memory can still make his friends and family laugh.

He and his co-worker, Jacob Wiegersma, used to ambush the voices.com office where they worked with nerf guns, the court heard Wednesday.

A reflection on those antics drew a laugh from some of the dozens who packed into the courtroom for a sentencing hearing for 29-year-old William Joles. Joles, Deslippe’s friend and roommate, was found guilty of second degree murder in the August 2016 death by a jury back in May.

Wiegersma was one of the 43 people who created victim impact statements about Deslippe’s death.

READ MORE: London, Ont., man charged with 2nd-degree murder after body of 27-year-old man found

He told the court he missed a lot of work in the months afterwards; Deslippe’s empty desk right next to his served as a “dark reminder” of what happened on Aug. 29.

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Five days before that, Deslippe left Wiegersma a voicemail message on his cell phone. Wiegersma told the court he still listens to it.

Deslippe’s father, Tim Deslippe, said he helped move his son into the Colborne and York Street high rise where he was killed.

A lot of the places they visited together, while apartment hunting, didn’t meet the older Deslippe’s qualifications for a safe place to live — but 363 Colborne passed the test.

A year later, he didn’t expect to be moving his son’s things again.

READ MORE: Man charged in 2 London deaths to stand trial for 2nd-degree murder of Emmanuel Awai

And to this day, Tim Deslippe wonders what would have happened if he’d arrived at the apartment building a little bit earlier. He’s always been diligent about being on time, he told the court, and he was supposed to pick Nathan up for a family celebration in Toronto the morning he was killed. They were to meet at 10:30 a.m., but what if he’d been there at 9:30, he asked.

“How close or far was I from being able to help him? I’ll never know.”

Kaitlyn Chau told the court she had to leave her dream job teaching five-year-olds for seven months, because she was diagnosed with PTSD after Nathan’s death.

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She described him as a brother, and his mom, Mona Lam-Deslippe, was like her adoptive mother.

“I will never forget that [phone] conversation, and hearing my beloved mother saying ‘I think my son is dead.'”
Mona Lam-Deslippe told the court her son wasn’t “hanging out with the wrong crowd,” but that he was a “good person who did so much for others, even Will [Joles], who he invited into his home.”

Now her worldview and her fundamental beliefs have been shattered by Joles’s actions, she said.

“If I had not taught Nathan to care for and to help others, would he still be alive today?”

READ MORE: Rally outside London jail demands better care for Ontario’s inmates

There were a couple of community impact statements read into court by the many different circles in which Deslippe was an active and well-loved member. They each described the yoga instructor and life coach as being upbeat and positive, inspirational, and selfless.

Deslippe loved to practice yoga, talk business, and help others, the court heard.

And all the while, William Joles sat quietly in a black suit and jacket and a white collared shirt, his hair tied back into a pony tail, his face blank.

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“I am sincerely sorry for what happened,” he told the court, when he was given the chance to speak.

“I have a lot of sadness, regret, remorse, and anger,” he said, adding that he too has been grieving the loss of his best friend.

“I think about him and all of you everyday.”

Joles also took the opportunity to point out he’s been behaved during the past nearly two years he’s been at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre. He says he’s given up drinking because of what it does to him, and that he’s taken bible classes and yoga classes when available. He says he wants the court to know this, so they don’t think he’s “given up” after the “tragic event.”

Defence lawyer, John Getliffe, argues his client should be able to apply for parole after ten years in custody.

Crown attorney Vanessa Decker doesn’t want him to be able to apply for parole until between 17-18 years.

A second degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence behind bars, with eligibility for parole ranging between 10 and 25 years. Judge Jonathon George will deliver his sentencing decision on July 12.

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