Calgary

Craig Kelloway's family expresses grief at Nicholas Rasberry sentencing hearing

Letters from the parents of a man killed by his neighbour were read to a Calgary judge at the sentencing hearing for Nicholas Rasberry today after he was found guilty of stabbing Craig Kelloway to death.

Prosecution asks judge to sentence Rasberry to 15 years in prison

Nicholas Rasberry walks into the Calgary Courts Centre just before Justice Robert Hall found him guilty of manslaughter in October. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

From the other side of the country, a family tormented by their son's final moments tried to put into words for a Calgary judge the impact Craig Kelloway's death has had on them.

"The day I laid my son to rest is the day I wished to be buried with him," Harvey Kelloway wrote from his home in Cape Breton, N.S. "He was my son and best friend."

Kelloway, 31, was killed by Nicholas Rasberry in May 2013 after being stabbed and slashed 37 times.

Originally charged with second-degree murder, the 32-year-old was found guilty of manslaughter in October after the judge determined he didn't have the intent to commit murder. 

Victim impact statements were read aloud at Rasberry's sentencing hearing today. The judge is expected to hand down his decision on Dec. 11.

Kelloway's mother described days and nights plagued with panic attacks and nightmares.

"Did he defend himself? Did he beg for his life?" Monica Kelloway asked in her statement. "My heart is broken into a million pieces."

911 call

Rasberry and Kelloway met only hours before paramedics arrived.

Rasberry and his wife met Kelloway and his girlfriend in their backyard and began drinking and barbecuing together. The festivities later took them from Kelloway's home to the Rasberry's.

This photo of Craig Kelloway, left, and Nicholas Rasberry taken at 10:36 p.m. was entered into evidence at the trial. The 911 call Rasberry made, saying he had stabbed Kelloway multiple times, was placed at around 11:30 p.m. (Courtroom Exhibit)

But shortly after the women went to bed, something happened that caused Rasberry to stab Kelloway — breaking three knives in the process.

Rasberry has never denied killing Kelloway, but has maintained that the victim threatened to sexually assault him. He also said he felt he needed to protect his wife who was sleeping upstairs.

"He tried to f--k me," said Rasberry to the 911 operator in a phone call that was made the night he killed Kelloway. "I stabbed him everywhere."

Son's life 'destroyed'

The mother of Kelloway's son also spoke about his loss from the boy's perspective.

"You say you were protecting your family, but your actions destroyed Blake's," said Kim Warcop.

Nicholas Rasberry admitted to a police detective that he used three knives, breaking two and bending a third. (Court handout)

The boy, now three, was not allowed inside the courtroom but sat patiently in the hallway.

Prosecutors Todd Buziak and Matthew Block are seeking a 15-year prison sentence for Rasberry.

They have also asked the Alberta Court of Appeal to overturn the the manslaughter decision, instead seeking a second-degree murder conviction.

The defence team of Hersh and Gavin Wolch is asking for time-served, meaning Rasberry won't serve any more time behind bars besides the year he spent in the Calgary Remand Centre before being granted bail.

Rasberry's references 

Nine letters addressed to Justice Robert Hall were filed by Rasberry's friends and family in support of him.

Included were letters from his former wife and her parents who say the stress of the incident, Rasberry's time at the remand centre and the trial led to their divorce.

We firmly believe there were two victims that night and we beg of you to be merciful to our son in sentencing.- Steve and Debra Rasberry

"Nick and I weren't just husband and wife, we meant the world to one another. We were best friends," wrote Kelsey Klein, Rasberry's former wife. "It was the loneliness, heartache and exhaustion that ended our marriage."

The couple had just bought their Auburn Bay home at the time of the killing and were about to try to start a family.

"Our daughter has lost so much, her fairytale life shattered," said Carolanne Klein in her letter. "She is now left to pick up the pieces of her life."

Rasberry's parents wrote that his son "desperately hoped" to reconcile with Klein.

"We firmly believe there were two victims that night and we beg of you to be merciful to our son in sentencing," wrote Steve and Debra Rasberry.

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