A Calgary mother is speaking out about her experience navigating the justice system with her son’s killer set to be sentenced next week.
“I don’t have faith in the justice system at all,” Simone Soop said.
Simone’s son, 26-year-old Darby Shade (Soop), was stabbed to death in January 2018 after being chased from a house party in southwest Calgary.
“It was so gruesome how he died,” Simone said. “That night, it haunts me still today.”
Following Darby’s death, Christian Whitebear and Matthew Crane-Watchmaker were both charged with second degree murder and warrants were issued for their arrest after they fled Calgary.
The two men were eventually tracked down weeks later.
WATCH: Family, friends mourn death of Darby Soop as police seek 2 men for questioning (Jan. 2018)
After their arrest Simone said she thought she would find some closure but was surprised when she was later informed that the two men pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
“I’m appalled the charges were dropped significantly,” she told Global News.
“I wanted to see a full trial… I’m thinking, ‘is that how much my son is worth?’ just a few hours for you guys to make that decision?”
Whitebear was sentenced in February to the equivalent of a three-year prison term. With credit for time served Whitebear was released shortly after his sentencing.
“For me, it’s a risk to my family that he’s out there”, Simone said. “It’s a risk to other people and the community.”
“I wanted to see him actually go to prison and work on himself.”
Mount Royal University Justice Studies professor Doug King said credit for time served at remand centres continues to be a controversial topic.
“Remand is typically not a very pleasant place to be at the best of times,” King said. “So there’s this notion of it’s ‘hard time’ and so that’s the increase in credit for time served.”
Simone now fears Crane-Watchmaker will also soon walk free.
“For me I’m working day by day… trying not to hate these two boys, but I hope that they get the help that they need,” she said.
In an email to Global News, Crown prosecutor Joe Mercier declined to get into the specifics of why the charges were reduced but said he would wait until Wednesday’s hearing to put his arguments before the Justice.
Simone said she and her family plan to be at the hearing next week to show the court how much her son was loved.
“He lives inside our hearts and I believe someday I’ll see him again.”