Nova Scotia

Ex-boyfriend will serve 14 years for killing Cassidy Bernard, abandoning babies

A Cape Breton, N.S., man has been sentenced for killing his former girlfriend and leaving their seven-month-old daughters to fend for themselves for three days alone in a crib. 

Dwight Austin Isadore pleaded guilty to manslaughter over 2018 death of Cape Breton woman

Austin Isadore killed Cassidy Bernard in 2018. (Austin Isadore/Facebook)

A Cape Breton, N.S., man has been sentenced for killing his former girlfriend and leaving their seven-month-old daughters to fend for themselves for three days alone in a crib. 

Dwight Austin Isadore is expected to serve a 14-year prison term after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of Cassidy Jean Bernard and abandoning her twin girls.

Isadore admitted he struck Bernard with his fists, hitting her in the neck, back and stomach. He believed he hit her 10 times as hard as he could. 

"I'm really happy my daughter has justice and the little girls have justice," said Cassidy's mother, Mona Bernard, outside the courtroom. "I just [have] to learn to live on without her. It was really hard. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat. I lost a lot of stuff; lost myself is what it was."

On Wednesday, members of Bernard's family gave victim impact statements in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Isadore not welcome in We'koma'q

We'koma'q Chief Annie Bernard-Daisley spoke in the courtroom on behalf of her community, saying her cousin's death left them shattered. Bernard-Daisley also warned Isadore that he will no longer be welcomed in We'koma'q upon his release.

"We'koma'q was a place of peace," she said. "We'koma'q was hurt, saddened, shocked and robbed."

Another woman said she now suffers from PTSD, a panic disorder, and anxiety after finding Bernard's body and the children in the crib next to her. 

Cassidy Bernard was mother to two young girls. (Facebook)

Associate Chief Justice Patrick Duncan said that the damage done in this case "does not end" at Bernard's death.

"All of these persons had to find ways to cope with that trauma, that life altering experience," he said. "And we hope that they may find their peace."

Duncan said he hopes Isadore is able to better himself before returning to society. He accepted a joint recommendation from Crown and defence that Isadore receive a 15-year sentence for manslaughter and a three-year consecutive sentence for child abandonment, with credit given for time spent on remand. 

Luck saved twins

Crown lawyer Peter Harrison said it was only "through good fortune, not good planning" that Bernard's twin girls survived, noting that Isadore received one of the stiffest sentences imposed in Canada for child abandonment. 

"[It] recognizes the significant aggravating factors that were present in this case," Harrison said. 

Isadore was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge last month. 

He was arrested a little over a year after Bernard's death following a six-month-long sting known as a Mr. Big operation in which Isadore was introduced to several undercover officers who played various roles within a mock crime organization.

Although that evidence did not get tested at trial, Crown lawyers say they're confident that it would have been admissible in this case.

Isadore's lawyer said his client is remorseful for what happened, but acknowledged nothing will bring Cassidy back. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Pottie

Reporter

Erin Pottie is a CBC reporter based in Sydney. She has been covering local news in Cape Breton for 15 years. Story ideas welcome at erin.pottie@cbc.ca.

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