'It’s because of you my son is dead': mother expresses heartache at sentencing hearing
The family of Brett Wiese, who was fatally stabbed at a house party in the northwest neighbourhood of Brentwood six years ago, shared their pain in a Calgary courtroom Monday at the sentencing hearing for convicted killer, Mitchell Harkes, 26.
Last month, a jury found Harkes guilty of second-degree murder at his re-trial.
In the early morning hours of January 12, 2013; 20-year-old Brett Wiese, a University of Calgary business student, was stabbed six times by Harkes. A seventh stab wound came at the hands of a teenage girl.
Earlier that night, several people had been kicked out of the house party. Harkes, a friend of members of the group that had been ejected arrived at the home with a knife, seeking revenge with some of the party crashers.
“Sitting in the same air space as the person who thrust a knife into my son’s body six times is beyond comprehension,” said Brenda Wiese, Brett’s mother.
“Brett died in a way that couldn’t be more opposite to who he was and how he lived his life,” she said, describing her son as kind and gentle.
Brenda Wiese addressed Harkes saying, “It is because of you my son is dead. You will never clearly understand the impact you’ve had on my family.”
Brett’s father, Jody Wiese said a life sentence was handed down with four words, “Your son is dead.”
“What I miss is not being able to create more memories with Brett,” said Jody Wiese as he expressed the sadness of never knowing what his son would have become.
Morgan Wiese, Brett’s younger sister choked back tears as she told the court, “Brett wasn't simply my closest DNA match on the planet, he was my best friend and someone who knew me better than I knew myself.”
“There aren’t words nearly powerful enough to describe how much Brett meant to me or how losing him has broken my heart,” said Morgan Wiese.
The trial heard Harkes also stabbed another man, Colton Lewis, who survived his injuries.
Harkes was previously convicted of second-degree murder in 2015. He successfully appealed, arguing there were errors in the judge’s instruction to the jury during his first trial.
Second degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for at least ten years.
Crown Prosecutor Carla MacPhail argued parole ineligibility should be set at 15 years.
Defence lawyer Tonii Roulston suggested parole ineligibility should be set at 10 years.
Mitchell Harkes sobbed as he addressed the court saying, “There are no words to describe the magnitude of remorse I feel.”
Harkes said, “Brett Wiese was a pillar of society and a person that all people young and old could aspire to be like. If there was a magic word I could say to bring him back I would have said it many times by now. I am so sorry for your loss and I’m so sorry for the part that I played.”
“I think of each and every one of you every day with heartfelt sympathy and I hope the memories you have of Brett are a source of comfort.”
The judge will sentence Harkes on Thursday.