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Crime

Man handed life sentence in 2015 killing of Camrose mother

WATCH ABOVE: The fourth person involved in the vicious murder of a young mother has been sentenced. In 2015, Mackenzie Harris was chased, down, beaten and her body was dumped in a field near Calmar. Fletcher Kent reports.

WARNING: Some of the details in this story may be disturbing to some readers.

For an hour, Kim Harris stood in the witness box at a Wetaskiwin court. She trembled, and cried and described how her daughter’s murder has broken her and her seven-year-old grandson.

“We reassure (our children) monsters are not real. The very monsters I said were not real actually walk amongst us.”

Justice Paul Belzil described the case as “a tragedy built on a tragedy built on a tragedy. It just never seems to end.”

Harris read victim impact statements during Kyle Scott’s sentencing hearing. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of 22-year-old Mackenzie Harris.

The judge accepted a joint sentencing submission requesting the minimum sentence for second-degree murder — life with no chance of parole for 10 years.

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On August 1, 2015 Scott and three others brutally killed Harris and left her body in a wooded area near Calmar.

READ MORE: ‘Someone please help’: Woman found dead in Calmar leaves disturbing message

Court heard Harris lived with her mother in Camrose and her then-three-year-old son, Braxton. She was forced to leave the home following a dispute with another person who came to live at the house.

Harris ended up at a house in Leduc with Scott and his grandmother. Scott and three others were involved in the drug trade, court heard.

An agreed statement of facts said Harris partied with Scott and the other three but was kicked out of the house after some items disappeared.

Harris became upset and threatened to “report him and the group to police for drug trafficking.”

That’s when Scott told the others in that group to “get rid of her.”

Harris texted her mother saying: “They’re trying to kill me. They’re trying to set me up.”

She posted a frantic Facebook message at 4:58 a.m., which said “someone please help. I’m in Leduc stranded and they are trying to hurt me. I have no shoes. Someone help.”

READ MORE: Grisly murder of young Camrose mother nets three-year youth sentence for 20-year-old

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Scott and the other three found Harris and viciously beat her, kicked her and put a bag over her head.

She didn’t die.

The four men retrieved a car and put Harris inside. The agreed statement of facts said they started driving to Calmar. On the way, Harris was “moaning and asking, ‘Why?'”

She stopped moving partway through the trip and the group dumped her body in a wooded area near Calmar where she was discovered on Aug. 3, 2015. An autopsy found she died of blunt force trauma and suffered at least three blows to the head.

Harris’s mother described to the court Friday how that day has devastated her family.

Braxton worshiped his mother.

“His world was shattered and there was no person, nothing that could make it better,” she said.

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On the night Harris died, her mother and son were frantically trying to call her. Their calls went unanswered.

“He would hang on to the phone again and again just listening to her message.”

Two days later, Harris told Braxton his mother had gone to heaven. After their prayers, she said Braxton would often say” “it’s OK mommy. I know you’ll get away and come home.”

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Harris told court her grandson suffers with PTSD and anxiety. He’s no longer the bubbly, happy kid who would “walk hand in hand (with his mother), skipping down the sidewalk singing nursery rhymes.”

Harris said she’s broken, too.

“My heart and soul are fractured. I live in a world of memories,” she said. “If it was not for Braxton, I would gladly join my daughter.”

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Scott is the last of the four to have his case go through the courts.

Dylan Bakke pleaded guilty to manslaughter and committing an indignity to a body. He received a 13-year sentence. Chris Stein also pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven years.

The third person is a youth and cannot be named. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to three years in custody followed by two years of community supervision.