family of Deborah Irene Yorke Anger left the courtroom on Friday as a man convicted of murdering his sister in 2018 was given the right to apply for parole after serving at least 10 years.
Brandon Jake Holohan, of Dartmouth, N.S., was convicted of second-degree murder and received a life sentence on March 21. On Friday, Holohan appeared virtually from his jail cell, holding a phone to his ear, to hear the judge’s ruling on parole. ,
The victim’s family sat in the front row of the Supreme Court.
“I can’t keep it together today,” York’s sister Cheryl Campbell said outside the courtroom.
“Ten years is what he gets … for murder, for a brutal murder, putting us through stuff for five years.”
Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Kevin Cody said factors including Holohan’s “long-standing efforts” to recover from a serious addiction and remorse for his actions had influenced his decision before giving the 28-year-old a term of 10 years. carried forward. Apply for parole – at least for a charge of second degree murder.
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The crime began when Holohan, 23, broke into Yorke’s apartment while she was asleep. The masked man repeatedly struck him with a hammer and stabbed him with a knife. The 62-year-old woman suffered over 60 blunt and sharp injuries to her head, face and neck before collapsing in the hallway.
The judge noted Friday that Holohan was addicted to opioids and had no other criminal record at the time of the crime. He noted that York had once been friends with Holohan, even allowing him to stay with her for several months.
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“She was kind to him when he needed it most,” Cody continued. “The level of violence was extreme considering Mr. Holohan’s non-violent past. I am satisfied that drugs played a role as there is no other plausible explanation.
The victim’s family did not like this assessment.
“When will our justice system stand up and say that people need to be held accountable for what they did, regardless of what drugs, alcohol or whoever put them under duress?” Another of York’s brothers, Don Fraser, said after the decision.
“Again, our justice system is on the side of the defendant, even if they are 100 percent guilty.”
Despite expressing reasons supporting his decision to grant minimal parole eligibility, Coady still said that Holohan murdered Yorke in “a most violent manner” and described the crime scene as “like something out of a horror movie”. .
The judge said he received 24 letters of reference in support of Holohan, notably from a former provincial court judge who now works with the Seven Steps program., Who said Holohan “honestly faced the truth about his life and is determined to change. Indeed, he has implemented some change and is working to effect more change.”
In August, Holohan was sent to a restorative justice program, a first for a convicted murderer in Nova Scotia.
“At the end of the day, Mr. Holohan is serving a life sentence, it’s going to be a long road ahead of him in terms of his rehabilitation and getting the necessary programs so he can reintegrate into society,” senior Crown Attorney Robb said Kennedy.
“Ten years is no guarantee that he will be released in 10 years, it will be up to the parole officers.”
With files from Callum Smith and The Canadian Press.
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