Robin Godfrey’s five-year-old son told police he watched his father leave a Pleasant Hill apartment suite before another man walked up and shot his dad.
The April 2019 shooting warranted a 13-year sentence for Jamie Halkett, judge Bruce Bauer decided, as he accepted a joint submission Tuesday in Saskatoon provincial court.
Minus credit for time served, Halkett has 11 years and 10-and-a-half months remaining on his sentence.
Read more: Man wanted in Saskatoon homicide arrested
“Robin’s young son will forever be traumatized by what he had to witness,” Crown prosecutor Lana Morelli said while presenting the facts of the case.
Video surveillance showed Halkett, now 28, leaving one apartment suite as Godfrey walked from the opposite side of the courtyard in the 200 block of Avenue K Sotuh.
The men approached each other and 13 seconds later, Halkett shot Godfrey with a sawed-off rifle at close range, Morelli described.
Around 9:25 p.m. on April 20, multiple callers reported a shooting in the courtyard. A civilian, Saskatoon police officer and paramedic attempted CPR to no avail.
Godfrey had suffered a single gunshot wound to the chest. He was declared dead at Royal University Hospital shortly after 10 p.m.
“This was difficult in that there really was no motive,” Morelli told reporters outside court. “There’s speculation of what happened and background stories.”
She said Godfrey and Halkett did not seem to know each other, though the offender knew Godfrey’s family. Surveillance video showed Halkett wearing a red sweater that Godfrey previously owned, but was sold to the offender for $10, court heard.
Halkett was originally charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter in April.
Morelli cited multiple issues that led to the manslaughter plea, rather than murder. A gun and shell casing were never recovered from the crime scene, and Halkett’s decision not to give a statement meant no insight on a motive or what happened to the gun.
Myrtle Godfrey remembers her son as someone who was always helping family members despite his limited means. He’d find money to buy his mother groceries and connect her with the food bank.
“He was trying to get his life back together (by) giving up the gang life and the drugs,” she said.
“That’s what we all wanted for him, but the drugs were more strong than I guess we were.”
Jessica Danyluk, another relative speaking outside court, described Godfrey as “the biggest sweetheart” who protected family.
“If you need help, get the help you need instead of taking someone’s life,” Danyluk said.
Halkett was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for breaching parole at the time of the death. He was arrested in La Ronge nearly two weeks after the shooting.
Halkett also received a 30-day sentence to be served consecutively with his manslaughter sentence for being unlawfully at large.
Defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle acknowledged Halkett’s actions fall under the “near-murder category” of manslaughter offences.
Pfefferle described his client’s troubled upbringing, including numerous stints in foster homes and numerous instances of abuse. Halkett has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, his lawyer said.
Halkett apologized to the victim’s family in court, stating, “I made a huge mistake. I can’t take that back. I understand that.”