A 29-year-old man has received a nine and a half year sentence for the 2017 death of his 19-month-old son.
Joey Crier learned his fate in an Edmonton courtroom on Monday afternoon. He was convicted in January in the death of toddler Anthony Joseph Raine, whose body was found outside a north Edmonton church in 2017.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice David Labrenz accepted a joint sentencing submission from the Crown and defence. With enhanced credit for time served, Crier has three years left to serve.
“Anthony was Mr. Crier’s son, and Mr. Crier was obligated to protect his son – not harm him,” the judge said Tuesday as he read his decision.
“Mr. Crier did nothing to protect Anthony from further harm.”
Raine’s bruised body was found outside the Good Shepherd Anglican Church in April 2017. He had been dead for about three days. An autopsy found he died from severe head trauma.
Crier and his then-girlfriend Tasha-Lee Doreen Mack were both charged with second-degree murder in Raine’s death, a charge that Crier had pleaded not guilty to when his trial started.
In his decision earlier this year, Labrenz said it wasn’t clear what caused Raine’s fatal head trauma, or if Mack could have committed the assault, so he had reasonable doubt that Crier was guilty of second-degree murder, and convicted him of manslaughter instead.
In June, Labrenz said he would reduce Crier’s overall sentence because he has been assaulted in jail and spends much of his time segregated in protective custody.
In an agreed statement of facts, Crier’s defence lawyers and Crown prosecutors said he was immediately designated a “high-profile inmate” due to media attention surrounding his criminal charges.
He was placed for his own protection in 23-hour-a-day lockup in a maximum security unit at the Edmonton Remand Centre.
“Mr. Crier was subject to fecal bombing and urine bombing in his cell by another inmate,” said his lawyer Tania Shapka, reading from the statement.
It stated there had also been at least one physical altercation with another inmate, who punched him in the head and neck. The submission asked the judge to allow 2 1/2 days for every day spent in segregation.
Labrenz said he accepted the findings of a Gladue report, which is conducted to consider unique circumstances for Indigenous offenders, that showed Crier had a difficult childhood and turned to substance abuse at a young age.
“I have no doubt that the use of crystal methamphetamine contributed to the assault and offences themselves,” he said. “It manifested itself in Mr. Crier’s apparent lack of caring or empathy for Anthony.
“This does not excuse Mr. Crier’s own conduct.”
Court heard victim impact statements from Raine’s mother, uncle and a court worker.
“I love you my baby. Momma wishes she could hug you and kiss you. You would’ve been five years old this year,” the toddler’s mother, Dalyce Raine, said.
“You guys deserve to be behind bars. You people don’t deserve to be out and free if my son can’t be able to live. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive you people for what you did.”
Crier chose not to speak in court on Tuesday, instead providing a written statement to the judge.
“First off I’m truly and deeply sorry that this tragedy has even happened in the first place,” he wrote.
“I apologize to the familys (sic) who have been hurt and impacted by this situation. Also to peoples of Edmonton who have also been effected (sic).”
Crier went on to say he failed in his obligations as a father and there is no way to right this wrong.
“I never intended for this to happen. I wish things were not as they are,” he said. “I can only hope to with the rite (sic) amount of effort and with the remaining days I have in this life 2 at least make it better and try to ease some of the pain.
“One can only apologize so many times before it loses it’s (sic) meaning. But I’ll be saying and will be sorry for the rest of my life… I hate myself for whats (sic) happened.”
Mack was also convicted of manslaughter in the toddler’s death. She was sentenced in June to eight-and-a-half years behind bars. With credit for time already spent in custody, Mack had five years left on her sentence.
With files from The Canadian Press.