Mom of tortured disabled man sickened by lenient sentences
WARNING: Graphic details from this court case may disturb some readers
A Saskatchewan mother says she's sickened by the knowledge that two Hamiltonians have been given lenient sentences for torturing her developmentally disabled son.
The mother says her son suffered brain damage and a stroke after being held and tortured for more than two weeks in 2009.
A man and a woman have been sentenced to fewer than seven years each in prison. Corrections Canada told CBC News on Tuesday that it has not yet been decided where they will be serving their terms.
"The cruelty of people is just … I don't know," the mother said in a phone interview Monday night. "What is wrong with them that they are that cruel to another human being? It just makes me sick to my stomach to think of what he went through."
Her son was 22 when he went to a Corktown apartment where a group of people — including Dakota Thompson and Stanley Brown — confined him for 17 days. They burned his genitals with a hair straightener, made him eat feces and drink urine, beat him with a pole and poured cayenne pepper into the bath when he tried to wash his wounds, court documents say.
Victim has returned to Hamilton, mom says
When police discovered the victim, he had facial fractures, disfiguring injuries and a gaping head wound. One of the first officers on the scene said he thought the man was dead.
The victim moved to Saskatchewan to stay with his mother after the incident, she said.
While there, he suffered a stroke that still inhibits movement on the right side of his body. Doctors removed a blood clot the size of a tennis ball from her son's brain.
He has since moved back to Hamilton, but she wants him to come stay with her. She still lives with the fear of the incident. Her son called her twice while he was held captive to ask her for money, she said. She sent about $750 during that time, only to find out later that he was being held.
"I felt absolutely horrible," she said. "How did I not know that?"
He remains 'generous and kind and trusting'
Her son was hospitalized for eight weeks and still has a bald spot on his head from where he was beaten. The hair will never grow back, she said.
Despite this, he remains "generous, and kind and trusting," she said.
"He's a little bit more reserved than he was and not quite so open to letting strangers in and letting people take advantage of him," she said. "But he's still the same gentle person. Just slightly damaged is all."
Brown was originally sentenced to 13 years and Thompson to 10 years for the incidents, despite the Crown suggesting sentences of about half those terms.
Brown's sentence has been reduced to seven years and eight months, less 32 months credit for pretrial custody.
Thompson's sentence has been reduced to six years and eight months, less 32 months for pretrial custody.
The man met the culprits through a centre for at-risk youth. The abusers, lawyers noted, had "cognitive limitations."
Brown has fetal alcohol syndrome, and Asperger syndrome and is of borderline intelligence. Thompson had a troubled upbringing and was addicted to Percocet and OxyContin.
But the victim's mother says there is no excuse. She recalls her anger while sitting through testimony at the preliminary hearing.
"To listen to the two defence attorneys downplay what these people did to him, it was hard to be quiet," she said. "It was really hard not to stand up and scream at the top of my lungs."