Tasha Mack sentenced to 8½ years in toddler's death

Tasha Mack, 28, has been sentenced to 8½ years for manslaughter in the April 2017 death of toddler Anthony Raine. With credit for time served, Mack will spend another five years behind bars.

Body of 19-month-old Anthony Joseph Raine found outside Edmonton church in 2017

Anthony Joseph Raine was 19 months old when he was found dead outside the Good Shepherd Anglican Church in April 2017. Tasha-Lee Doreen Mack has been convicted of manslaughter in his death. (Edmonton Police Service, Facebook )

Tasha Mack was sentenced Monday to 8½ years in prison for her role in the death of her boyfriend's 19-month-old son.

Mack was convicted last November of manslaughter.

Anthony Raine's lifeless body was found outside an Edmonton church in April 2017. 

"There is no doubt that the act that killed Anthony was brutal," Court of Queen's Bench Justice Robert Graesser said. "There is nothing more tragic than the death of a child whose life is taken away before they've had a chance to experience it in any meaningful way." 

Dalyce Raine said she doesn't think she'll ever forgive the people responsible for her son's death.

Her victim impact statement was read at Mack's sentencing hearing Monday 

The child's father, Joey Crier, has also been convicted of manslaughter.

Anthony died of blunt force trauma to the head. His body was covered in bruises when it was discovered behind the north Edmonton church three days after it had been placed there.

Dalyce Raine said in her statement that she thought her son was in good care with his father and she questioned why Crier didn't bring Anthony back to her.

Crier and Mack were caring for the boy for about six weeks before his death.

The mother noted Anthony would have turned five this year. 

"Mama wishes she could hug and kiss you," Raine wrote. "I wish I could say happy birthday to your face instead of your grave."

Crown prosecutor Monica Sabo suggested a prison sentence of 10 to 12 years, saying Mack made a "prolonged and conscious decision" not to seek help when the little boy was being abused.

"It is abundantly clear Ms. Mack has no remorse or insight into this crime," Sabo said. "She expresses limited responsibility for her actions and expresses no remorse towards the victim." 

A psychiatrist who assessed Mack for a sentencing report wrote, "She did not express any remorse and appeared to externalize blame." 

In a second presentence report, Mack's probation officer wrote, "The subject appears to accept very limited responsibility and expresses no remorse towards the victim. She only mentions how the current offence has negatively impacted her life." 

Mack also told the probation officer that she was concerned about getting jail time and thought a sentence of more than two years would be unfair.

'I know I've made mistakes'

Defence lawyer Ajay Juneja told Graesser that Mack has a low IQ, organic brain damage and limited cognitive abilities.

Juneja suggested that is relevant because Mack was found guilty for a failure to take action to potentially save Anthony. He asked for a six-year sentence, with enhanced credit for time served in 23-hour lockup.

Before the sentence was imposed, Graesser gave Mack the chance to address the court. 

In a tearful and often expletive-laden 25-minute statement, Mack complained about the death threats she's received, and alleged mistreatment at the hands of fellow inmates and remand centre staff. 

"It scares the living shit out of me," she said. "I know I've made mistakes. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make up for it."

The 28-year-old told the judge she loves children. 

"I understand what I did. I know it was wrong," she said. "I can swear on my life that it will never happen again." 

Mack suggested she tried to intervene when Anthony was being abused, but was told she had no say because it wasn't her child and feared retribution if she interfered.

"What are the consequences?" she said. "Am I going to get stabbed? Going to get kicked?" 

Mack never mentioned Anthony by name, but told court she feels remorse.

"I truly am sorry to every single person who was hurt," she said. "It really does hurt. I can't show it the way normal people do." 

She seemed resigned to going to prison. 

"I had no life before," she said. "Now I really have no life to return to."

Luci Johnson, an advocate for Raine's family, said after the hearing that Mack's statements seemed "self-absorbed."

"Not one word of her speaking about Anthony," Johnson said. "It was all about herself, what she could've done, what she should've done, what's she going to get done.

"No, that's not good enough. To us, our little warrior's life meant nothing to her while the judge is trying to get information from her." 

Joey Crier has been convicted of manslaughter in the death of his son. His sentencing date will be set later this month. (Facebook)

With credit for time served, Mack will spend another five years behind bars. 

Her former boyfriend has not yet been sentenced, but a judge has said he will reduce Crier's overall sentence because he has been assaulted in jail and spends much of his time in segregated custody. A date for his sentencing will be set later this month. 

Both Mack and Crier were initially charged with second-degree murder.

With files from The Canadian Press