Thunder Bay

'He was murdered, he deserves justice,' First Nations family disturbed by court delays

Five years is too long to wait for justice, according to the family of Sherman Quisses. Lawyers for the man accused of killing him are arguing the same thing, for different reasons.

Application to stay charges against Adam Capay concerns family of man he's accused of killing

Sherman Quisses was 34-years-old when he died after an altercation at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre in June 2012. (Josephine Quisses/Facebook)

​Five years is too long to wait for justice, according to the family of Sherman Quisses. Lawyers for the man accused of killing him are arguing the same thing — for different reasons.

Quisses, 34, was killed in 2012 during an altercation at the Thunder Bay correctional centre, just days before his release.

The man accused of killing him, Adam Capay, has remained in jail, awaiting trial ever since. More than four years of that time was spent in solitary confinement. Capay's legal team is arguing that amounts to cruel and unusual treatment and should result in a stay of the charges.

The Quisses family feels the justice system is being equally cruel to them.

"I want this nightmare to end," said Tristan Quisses, who was 13-years-old when his father was killed. 

"Losing a dad at such a young age — it hurts," he said at a memorial for his dad on Monday. "I won't ever see him again. His life was taken. I want this man to be sentenced for what he did."

The family has vowed to become more active in the case and is looking for their own lawyer to fight the application to stay the charges against Capay. 

About a dozen family and friends of Sherman Quisses attended a case management conference in a Thunder Bay courtroom on Tuesday.

Tristan Quisses stared up at the giant screen where Capay appeared by video conference, eyeing the man who is alleged to have killed his father, when he was just a year older than Tristan is now. Both men are baby-faced. Both are Indigenous.

The Quisses family is from Neskantaga First Nation. Capay is from Lac Seul First Nation.

Some of Quisses' family members are not without sympathy for Capay, but they crave justice.

"The fact he's in the same tribe as where I'm from, makes it harder," said Sherman Quisses' brother L.Michael Moonias. 

"I kind of understand what he's going through, but it's overshadowing what he did to my brother," Moonias said. "It would be simple if [Capay] wasn't treated differently when he was incarcerated."

His aunt Clara Quisess, (different members of the family spell their last name differently), said Sherman was a loving, kind man, a good father, a valued member of his community.

She remembers counting down the days until her nephew's release in June 2012. There were 18 days left in his sentence and he had plans to go fishing, she said.

"The next thing I heard, four days later, he was dead." Quisess said. "He was murdered. He deserves justice."

Quisess said she cannot grieve properly while the court proceedings continue. After that will come an inquest. Inquests are mandatory in Ontario when a person dies in jail.

"It's like we're holding our grief," she said.

The next court date in the proceedings for Capay is May 23 — less than two weeks from the fifth anniversary of Quisses' death.