PHOTO: Justice Anne Molloy listens to Crown attorney John Rinaldi read a victim impact statement during Alek Minassian's sentencing hearing on Monday. (Pam Davies/CBC)
After Rocco D’Amico spoke through tears about his daughter, Anne Marie D’Amico, who died at the age of 30, Molloy thanked him for keeping her memory alive after the family started a foundation that’s raising money to help women and children live free from violence.
“She’s vital and with us still in so many ways because of you,” Molloy said.
Partway through the day, the prosecution filed a drawing by nine-year-old boy who lost his mother in the tragedy. The sketch shows a bright yellow sun shining down on the boy and his mom.
“It’s lovely,” Molloy whispered before wiping away a few tears.
Another victim, Amaresh Tesfamariam, died more than three years later from injuries she suffered in the attack. The 65-year-old never left hospital after being paralyzed from the neck down and needing a ventilator to breathe. But she died nine months after the judge’s verdict on the count of attempted murder. Molloy issued a life sentence Monday for the attempted murder of Tesfamariam.
Outside court, Tesfamariam’s niece reflected on the judge’s decision.
“What she said in her sentencing is what we needed to hear to be able to start to heal and find a way to move forward,” said Luwam Ogbaselassie.
Several others thanked Molloy in their prepared remarks.
First-degree murder cases are, by law, supposed to be in front of a jury, but the prosecution and defence sought consent from the attorney general to go it in front of a judge alone. Then the pandemic hit, which delayed the trial for months.
When the trial finally got underway in November 2020, it was the first high-profile case in the province to take place over videoconference.
Molloy, presiding from her basement, allowed the lawyers involved to do away with their mandatory court robes — she did the same.
“It may not look like a real courtroom, it may not feel like a real courtroom sometimes, it may seem to be more relaxed, but I can assure that rules of evidence, the rules of law, are not relaxed,” she said on the trial’s opening day.
She also warned her cat may make an appearance on the screen and smiled when other pets showed up unannounced on others’ screens during trial.
In March 2021, Molloy donned her robes and delivered her verdict — one in which she refused to name the killer, noting infamy was one of his motivations.
“If any case like this should arise in the future, it is my fervent wish that, at the very outset, careful consideration be given to withholding publication of the name of the perpetrator,” she said.
On Monday, she thanked the survivors and relatives of the victims.
“You’ve reached into my heart and touched me in a very profound way,” she said, her voice cracking once more.