Victim's family tells killer their lives are forever changed

The Crown and defence lawyers are recommending life with no parole for at least 10 years for a 20-year-old man who pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing Cody MacLean, 24, in February.

Logan Raymond MacAusland to be sentenced in death of Cody MacLean

Logan Raymond MacAusland was arrested and has been in custody since Feburary 5, 2019. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

It was an emotional day in P.E.I. Supreme Court Friday as the family of a murder victim faced the man being sentenced for the killing.

Logan Raymond MacAusland, 20, was in court for a hearing to determine an appropriate sentence for him. He pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Cody MacLean, 24, in a street fight in Charlottetown Feb. 5. 

MacLean died from his injuries after being stabbed repeatedly in the chest.

At Friday's hearing, MacLean's family was in tears as their victim impact statements were read out loud, saying their lives have changed forever, and MacLean's two-year-old son, Lennon, is growing up without a father.

'He'll never know his father. That's a tragedy words cannot describe,' wrote Cody MacLean's mother, Heidi MacKinnon, in a statement that was read in court by her son, Dylan MacLean. (Submitted by Mitchell MacLean)

A statement by MacLean's mother, Heidi MacKinnon, was read to the court by her son, Dylan.

"All my hope is now gone. I feel dead inside," she wrote. Court heard she is now raising her grandson. "What do you say to a two-year-old son who asks 'Where is Daddy?' He'll never know his father. That's a tragedy words cannot describe."

"I didn't just lose my big brother. I lost my best friend as well," Dylan MacLean told the court.

"I relive this every day," he said. "Cody's death is on my mind 24/7."

MacLean was studying at Holland College at the time of his death.

Fight over drugs

Court heard MacAusland and MacLean had known each other for three years, and became close through their involvement with the Strength youth addictions program. They spent several months living together on two separate occasions at the Summerside facility.

Just a few days before the stabbing, MacAusland had punched an intoxicated man at a bar, knocking him to the ground twice, after the man accused MacLean of stealing from him, according to facts read out in court.

The night of their dispute, the pair had been out at several bars in downtown Charlottetown. MacAusland had some methamphetamine and went to a house downtown to sell some of the drugs, which MacLean was carrying.

When MacLean took off suddenly, MacAusland ran after him, catching up with him half a block later. A neighbour heard fighting and called the police.

Cody MacLean's brother Dylan, left, and mother Heidi MacKinnon, and other relatives leave P.E.I. Supreme Court Friday after taking part in a sentencing hearing for the man who killed him. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Video surveillance at a nearby home captured the two men arguing,with MacLean repeatedly saying "Let me explain." Then MacAusland punched MacLean in the head, knocked him to the ground, and stabbed him in the chest repeatedly. MacAusland then reached into MacLean's jacket, took the drugs, and ran off.

Police arrived two minutes later, found MacLean lying on the street, unresponsive. He was rushed to hospital by ambulance, but died a short time later from his injuries. He had been stabbed at least seven times, including a fatal wound to his heart.

After the stabbing, MacAusland went to a friend's house, changed his clothes, cleaned up, then took a taxi to a motel where he was living. Police caught up with him about an hour after the stabbing — MacAusland was walking down Lower Malpeque Road.

As officers approached him, MacAusland head-butted one officer in the nose and in the struggle that followed bit the same officer in the forehead causing "significant bleeding."

When he was taken to the police station for questioning he again became aggressive, punching another officer in the head, breaking his glasses, and spitting in the faces of two others.

Under influence

Both the Crown and defence lawyers are recommending life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years for MacAusland — that's the minimum amount of time anyone sentenced for second-degree murder can serve before they're eligible for parole. 

Court heard MacAusland had used drugs and alcohol from an early age, and had a violent past.  Both lawyers pointed out he had a traumatic upbringing, was a victim of abuse, and that his family was impacted by residential schools.

He was under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine that night, according to Crown prosecutor Nathan Beck — "but not to the point of not being able to control his actions."

Beck added he has shown "genuine remorse." 

MacAusland stood up in court, facing the MacLean family to read a statement. He held an eagle feather, noted as an important symbol for Mi'kmaq people, binding them to speak the truth. MacAusland apologized to MacLean's family and said he didn't mean to kill MacLean — in fact, he said the pair had talked that day about going back to rehab and getting off drugs. "It just didn't work out like that," he said.

MacAusland also said he "would dedicate myself to helping people not become what I have become."

Chief Justice Tracey Clements will sentence MacAusland on Dec. 4.

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With files from Steve Bruce