Calgary mom fears justice will not be served as sentencing hearing approaches for son’s killer

Click to play video 'Calgary mom fears son’s killer will walk free following sentencing' Calgary mom fears son’s killer will walk free following sentencing
WATCH: A sentencing hearing is scheduled for next week in the 2018 death of Darby Shade. As Tracy Nagai reports, his mother fears Darby’s killer will walk free after already having served time. – Sep 18, 2020

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. 

Read more: ‘My son ran for his life’: Calgary mother concerned for safety in wake of suspicious death

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.

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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)

Click to play video 'Family, friends mourn death of Darby Soop as police seek 2 men for questioning' Family, friends mourn death of Darby Soop as police seek 2 men for questioning
Family, friends mourn death of Darby Soop as police seek 2 men for questioning – Jan 20, 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.

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“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.”

Read more: 2 men charged in fatal stabbing outside Calgary mall plead guilty to lesser charges

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. 

Read more: Accused killer in January Calgary mall stabbing denied bail

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.

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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.”