The man who pleaded guilty to killing Brandon Thomas while driving drunk broke down in tears after listening to numerous victim impact statements from friends and family members.

Ryan Gibson, 22, pleaded guilty in January to driving over .08 causing death and driving over .08 causing bodily harm.  

Gibson stood in the Calgary courtroom wearing a boxy black suit and a pair of cowboy boots as he apologized for his actions.

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A Calgary courtroom heard 14 victim impact statements ahead of sentencing in the death of 17-year-old Brandon Thomas on Highway 22 near Cochrane. (Submitted by Thomas family)

"There's nothing I can possibly say. I can never ask for your forgiveness. My actions are unforgivable," he said. "I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. I'm sorry for the pain I've caused for so many people."

Gibson says when he looks in the mirror now he feels "disgust" and vows to work against drinking and driving in the future.

"I will pay for my actions for the rest of my life," he said.

Gibson was driving drunk from Cochrane to Calgary in December 2012 when he smashed his vehicle head-on into the Subaru that Thomas was driving.

Thomas died at the scene. 

Packed courtroom

Today the courtroom was packed with teenage friends of the victim — so many that there weren't enough seats. Some had to stand in the aisles, a lot of them wearing blue anti-drinking and driving wristbands.

With more than 40 victim impact statements offered to the court ahead of sentencing, provincial court Judge Karim Jivraj asked lawyers to reduce the list to 14 statements from relatives of Thomas.

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Friends and family of Brandon Thomas packed into a Calgary courtroom today to give victim impact statements. (Neil Herland/CBC)

Kayle Thomas, the victim's sister, sobbed as she described the loss of her brother.

"My whole world was taken away," she told court. 

Gibson — who had been staring at the wall — got emotional as the victim impact statements continued to be read aloud. Gibson's father was also in tears as he hugged his son during a break in the proceedings.

Thomas' mother was wearing a special hoodie with a colour photograph of him printed on the front. Kim Thomas says nothing will make up for the loss of her son.

"I'm going to say I think it was a well-written statement prepared by someone, that's what I'm going to say," she said. "I don't know if it was heart-felt, I don't know him — I don't want to know him. I know he killed my son and I know he can't bring him back."

Both Crown and defence lawyers had been seeking a sentence of two years plus one day to be served in a federal prison.  

Gibson will be sentenced on May 12.