Manitoba

Candace Derksen retrial stirs up painful emotions for victim of Mark Grant

The family of a girl Mark Grant sexually assaulted in 1989 says his retrial for the murder of Candace Derksen is stirring up painful emotions.

Kathy Guimond-Doyle's daughter was attacked in 1989 by the man accused of killing Candace Derksen

Mark Edward Grant was convicted in 2011 of second-degree murder in connection with the 1984 death of Candace Derksen, 13. But in 2013, the Manitoba Court of Appeal ordered a new trial, ruling the trial judge was wrong to exclude evidence that the defence argued suggests Derksen might have been killed by someone else. (Tom Andrich)

The family of a girl Mark Grant sexually assaulted in 1989 says his retrial for the murder of Candace Derksen is stirring up painful emotions.

Cynthia Bent was 16 years old when she was attacked by Grant, five years after Candace Derksen was killed.

"I am one of very few people who know what it's like to have Mark Grant look you in the eyes and you know you are going to die," she told CBC News when she first told her story in 2011.

Bent now lives in Texas but her mother, Kathy Guimond-Doyle, is attending court as Grant is retried for Derksen's murder.

Mark Grant served four years in jail for sexually assaulting 16-year-old Cynthia Bent in 1989.
"He's beginning to look like a monster to me now instead of the person I've forgiven," Guimond-Doyle told CBC News.

"Because emotions come back — memories of the incident, of what he did to my daughter. And you know, it's not a storybook. It's not a movie."

Grant served four years in prison for the 1989 attack. Nine days after he was released on parole, he sexually assaulted another woman, and was sentenced to another nine years in jail.

It was not until 2007 that Grant was arrested for the death of Candace Derksen, 13, who was found tied up and frozen to death in a storage shed near the Nairn Overpass in 1985.

Grant was convicted in Candace's death in 2011 but that decision was overturned by the Manitoba Court of Appeal after his lawyer argued the judge refused to allow evidence of another possible killer. 

Guimond-Doyle attended every day of his first trial in the death of Candace Derksen and felt compelled to show her support for the family as they move into the retrial.

"I think it's so unfair that [they] are going through this second trial," she said. "I'm here to honour Candace's spirit first and foremost and to support the Derksens." 

Guimonde-Doyle said she and her daughter have talked about Grant's retrial at length and says while Cynthia has forgiven him and healed, it's hard on her.

"When a new trial like this occurs it just really brings it all back, not as stark as it did the first time, but it's still painful nonetheless," she said.

"My daughter is doing OK. She's a born-again Christian so I know she has Christ and she has a good husband and support there, so I know she's good."

When asked if she believes it's possible there was another killer in Candace's case, Guimond-Doyle says she isn't convinced.

"That's hard to say," she said. 

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