“My decision cannot bring closure to you; I hope it brings you some measure of healing.”
Those were the words from Justice Larry Ackerl to Anthony Yasinski’s family before he officially sentenced Nigel LaFrance for the second-degree murder of their son.
On Saturday, more than three years following Yasinski’s death, Ackerl sentenced the 23-year-old LaFrance to life in prison with no parole for at least ten years.
Crown Prosecutor Lori Dunford says while it wasn’t exactly what they were hoping for – the decision means closure for the Yasinski family.
“I am glad Catherine and Mark will get a chance to heal and this file has been concluded for them. I thank everyone for everything they’ve done, the investigators, the justice, the defence counsel. They’ve all worked very hard during this trial”
On Friday, LaFrance fought back tears as he expressed extreme remorse for the actions that forever changed his life – and ended Yasinski’s.
“I’m not asking for forgiveness. I took from you a son, brother, a friend. I know that no words can help but I want you to know from the bottom of my heart I’m sorry. I’m ready to accept the consequences of my actions.”
Those emotions were on full display Saturday, as Ackerl handed down official sentencing.
Ackerl noted several mitigating factors such as LaFrance’s age, zero criminal record and rough upbringing as reasons for the minimum sentence.
“Mr. LaFrance, you have the opportunity to not be identified by your past conduct,” the Justice said. “May you one day, see that chance.”
At the time of the murder, LaFrance was only 19.
He also fell into substance abuse at an even younger age – consuming alcohol at 14 – with little to no positive role models in his life.
Dunford says in considering all these factors LaFrance was facing they found Ackerl’s decision to be a just one.
“The family (Yasinski’s) respected the jury’s decision the whole way through. There was a conviction for second-degree murder, they understood it and it is closure for them, while it will never bring their son back, they miss Anthony and they are trying to heal.”
The sentence also comes with a 10-year firearm ban, to be enacted upon LaFrance’s release.