Wiese family says emptiness remains as Brett's killer convicted for second time
Brenda Wiese receives a hug from a supporter as her husband Jody looks on after their son Brett's killer was convicted of second-degree murder
Published Thursday, May 23, 2019 8:02PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 23, 2019 10:54PM MDT
A jury has found Mitchell Harkes guilty of second-degree murder for a second time in connection with the 2013 stabbing death of Brett Wiese following a house party in the northwest neighbourhood of Brentwood.
After learning Harkes had been convicted, Jody and Brenda Wiese said they were relieved that this leg of the difficult journey that followed their son's death was over but the void in their lives remains.
"We’ve learned over the last several years that the sentence basically does virtually nothing for our life," said Brenda Wiese. "Our life continues on with a piece of emptiness because Brett is dead.”
Jody Wiese says he has no plans of forgiving the man who killed his son. “Bottom line is, there’s good people in the world and there’s evil people in the world. The only forgiveness is maybe him forgiving himself someday.”
“That’s not our issue to deal with.”
On January 11, 2013, 20-year-old Brett Wiese, a University of Calgary student, attended a house party at a home on Brisebois Drive N.W. Several people were kicked of out the gathering.
Harkes, a friend of members of the group that had been ejected, arrived at the home with some of the party crashers and knives in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 12. Wiese was stabbed a total of seven times and his injuries proved fatal. Harkes admitted to stabbing Wiese six times and another man, Colton Lewis, six times, but claimed he was not attempting to kill either of his victims. Wiese's seventh stab wound came at the hands of a teenage girl.
“Our reality is our son was killed in that house and Colton was very nearly killed," said Brenda Wiese. "Many, many wonderful people were very deeply traumatized by the violence and evilness of people that think that that’s okay.”
Lewis survived the stabbing attack and was in the courtroom alongside the Wiese family on Thursday to hear the verdict. Harkes' second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence but his parole ineligibility will be determined at his sentencing hearing.
Brenda Wiese says the second-degree murder conviction does little for her family. “I feel that the sentence is more about an impact for Mitchell Harkes and his family. For us, our life doesn’t change. The emptiness remains.” She hopes people will remember Brett as a kind, gentle soul who lived wholeheartedly.
Harkes, now 25 years old, had been granted a new trial by the Alberta Court of Appeal following his original conviction of second-degree murder in October 2015. He successfully argued there were errors in the judge’s instruction to the jury during his first trial.