The parents of a man killed and decapitated on a reserve in northwest B.C., remembered their son as a "true northern boy" after a guilty verdict was delivered to one of the people involved in his death more than five years ago.
Fribjon Bjornson was a 28-year-old father of two in January 2012 when he went to a home on the Nak'azdli Reserve near Fort St James, approximately 160 kilometres northwest of Prince George.
Bjornson was dealing with addiction and travelled to the home to buy drugs. Instead, he was beaten, strangled with a wire and decapitated.
Last year, two other men, Darren Jesse Bird and Wesley Dennis Duncan, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case, and Theresa Marie Charlie was found guilty of accessory after the fact to murder in a separate trial.
On Thursday, in B.C. Supreme Court in Prince George, James David Junior Charlie was found guilty of first-degree-murder for Bjorson's death following a five-week trial.
Charlie was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
'I don't know what happened'
As the 12-person jury delivered the guilty verdict, Charlie put his head down and covered it with his left arm. He sighed audibly, and wiped tears from his eyes.
When asked if he had anything to say, Charlie turned to Bjornson's parents and said, "I'm sorry. I don't know what happened."
Bjornson's father, Frederick Bjornson, who was in the courtroom, said aloud that he believed Charlie was sorry, adding, "But I know what you did."
Afterwards, Bjornson's parents said they hoped to visit Charlie in jail in order to get some understanding of why their son was killed.
"It [was] without provocation," Eileen Bjornson told reporters outside the courtroom. "We don't understand that.
"So we just want to be able to have some answers to that so it's not running through our head."
'He wasn't perfect ... he was ours'
Frederick Bjornson said it was difficult to sit through the testimony, hearing the details of how his son died "time and time and time again."
"The brutality of it," he added.
"To hear … constantly, how he suffered. That's a terrible thing to hear about your loved one," Eileen Bjornson said.
The pair hope to start focusing on the details of their son's life, rather than his death.
They remembered Fribjon as "kind and generous and thoughtful," telling the story of a time he escorted a woman through a snowstorm after he saw her vehicle go off the road.
"I like to say he was, like, a true northern boy, he liked to fish and hunt and the outdoors, and he was just ours and we love him and miss him," Eileen said, breaking into tears.
'If you can show me anybody in the world who was perfect, I'll take a check and see' - Frederick Bjornson
"I mean he wasn't perfect, we know that, but it doesn't matter, he was ours.
"If you can show me anybody in the world who was perfect, I'll take a check and see," Frederick Bjorson said.
"Anybody start badmouthing somebody, talking bad about somebody, he was right to their defence... he was a very nice man."
They also praised the Crown lawyers and RCMP investigators who helped uncover the details that led to the convictions in their son's murder.
"People always want to say the police don't do enough but the police... they did enough," Eileen Bjornson said.
With files from Wil Fundal and Betsy Trumpener