A judge called the murders of two young brothers from Brampton, Ont., at the hands of their father “an egregious breach of trust,” which included an element of planning given the boys couldn’t have been killed at the same time. He also noted the enormous impact the murders had on the family and the school community where the siblings were well-loved.
Superior Court Justice Bruce Durno reviewed the disturbing facts of the murders of Jonathan and Nicolas Bastidas, 12 and 9, before sentencing their father, Edwin Bastidas to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years. Last week, Bastidas pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, though he was originally charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
According to an agreed statement of facts, on the morning of Nov. 6, 2019 at 5:30 a.m., the children’s mother left the family home on Hiberton Crescent near Sandalwood Parkway and Creditview Road in Brampton.
As she was driving home around noon, Bastidas called his wife to say he was not feeling well and asked if they could meet for lunch. She agreed and according to her, nothing seemed unusual. Global News has agreed not to report the mother’s name, at the request of Crown prosecutors.
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Unbeknownst to the mother, their children had both been killed by Bastidas after she left for work. He had asphyxiated Jonathan and Nicolas, then called their school, leaving a message that they would be absent. He also hid a white T-shirt that contained a small amount of blood from Nicolas and DNA mixtures from both children, likely from saliva, in an empty cat food bag, which he then put in the recycling bin at the end of the driveway.
When the couple returned home from lunch, nothing seemed amiss to the boys’ mother. Bastidas pretended to pick up the children from after-school care. When he arrived home, his wife made pasta for dinner and asked where the children were. He advised they were busy in the car looking for a game cartridge. She told her husband to bring them in and that their food was getting cold. Bastidas pretended to check on them and said they needed 10 more minutes.
She then headed upstairs for a shower and after the shower, received a call from a friend who asked if she would like to go for coffee. She agreed.
When she returned downstairs, the pasta she made for dinner appeared to have been eaten, and Bastidas had cleaned up the plates. She then asked again where the children were. Bastidas told her they were in the basement setting up their video game.
She went out with her friend for coffee and when she returned around 9:30 p.m., she sat and watched TV with Bastidas after making the children’s lunches for the following day. She presumed the children were upstairs sleeping and Bastidas confirmed they were.
When their mother was out for coffee, Bastidas had staged the children’s bodies in their beds to make it look like they were sleeping. Jonathan was placed in the mother’s bed where the boy had customarily slept since when he was small and spent time at the Hospital for Sick Children. Nicolas was placed in his own room, where he ended up after falling asleep in his mother’s bed. Before the mother left for coffee, she observed both beds were empty.
When the boys’ mother retired for the night, Bastidas followed her up to the master bedroom. She could see Jonathan was in her bed but Nicolas wasn’t. She also noticed Bastidas holding a wooden mallet behind his back. It was usually kept in the garage. They used it to knock down the pegs in the door hinges when they rode up. His wife asked what he was doing. He said he was going to fix the door hinges in Jonathan’s room. The mother was confused, told him he would wake up the children and told him to put the mallet away.
When the mother walked to the side of the bed Jonathan was lying on, she noticed he did not look quite right. She went over to the boy and immediately realized he was dead after touching him.
She became very frightened, given that Bastidas was still holding the mallet and screamed “get away from me” and ran out of the house and called 911 saying her child was dead.
It wasn’t until firefighters arrived that they discovered Nicolas dead in his bedroom, not realizing that she was referring to Jonathan, who was lying in the master bedroom. Bastidas told the fire captain he had put the kids to bed at 8 p.m., and told them what the children had eaten for dinner.
It was only after firefighters left and paramedics took over that the couple were told that Nicolas had also died. The police, realizing there were two dead children, arrested both parents. It’s then that Bastidas uttered to the arresting officer, “It’s my fault. They have been like this since this morning,” explaining that they were smothered. At the police station, Bastidas reiterated that his wife should not be charged. He didn’t provide an explanation, only saying he was sorry to his wife. She was released from the station without charges.
Bastidas’s DNA was found in swabs taken from under the children’s fingernails. The cause of death was ruled undetermined but consistent with asphyxiation for both children.
Durno acknowledged the moving and heartbreaking statement provided by the boys’ mother, who said her life will never be the same, noting she plays over and over what happened on Nov. 6, 2019.
He also recapped what defence lawyer Robert Karass told the court during the sentencing hearing.
“Counsel said there will likely never be an explanation for the conduct. There were three mortgages on the house. He (Bastidas) internalized his problems. When the boys acted out that morning, in an impulsive and unexpected response, he smothered the boys,” Durno said, calling the offences out of character.
Durno said the enormous impact of the crime extended to the community at large, including Jonathan and Nicolas’s classmates and staff at the school.
St. Bonaventure Catholic Elementary School in Brampton held a memorial and a mass in the weeks after the murders and last year, the school held a memorial tree-planting ceremony.
Durno said mitigating factors included Bastidas’s guilty plea, which is indicative of remorse with potential for rehabilitation. He also has no prior criminal record, confessed to police upon his arrest and again at the police station, and apologized in his elocution to the court.
Along with two life sentences without eligibility for parole for 18 years, to be served concurrently, Bastidas was ordered to submit his DNA, is prohibited for life from owning weapons and is not allowed to communicate with the boys’ mother.