The teenage girl charged with killing a baby boy in Saskatoon this summer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Wednesday.
Nikosis Jace Cantre was six weeks old when he was found dead at his family home on Waterloo Crescent July 3.
At the time, a family member told 650 CKOM the little boy’s mother found him in his playpen. He appeared to have been beaten.
“Why would you do such a horrible thing to such an innocent child?” said Cantre’s grandfather, Jeffery Longman, through tears.
“You wake up every day in pain wondering how he is, how he should have been. I’ve got no words that can explain how I feel.”
Longman spoke outside court Wednesday surrounded by family members, including the boy’s mother. The group gathered in a circle, holding posters and singing a song calling for justice on behalf of the little boy.
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Details of the lead-up to Cantre’s death have come out through interviews with the family. The teenage girl had been taken in by the infant’s family in the early morning hours of July 2, when she was discovered wandering the streets of downtown Saskatoon alone.
Family members said they didn’t know at the time the girl had escaped open custody at Kilburn Hall in Saskatoon. Once they found out, they alerted Saskatoon police, which yielded no follow up.
Cantre’s family has repeatedly called for justice to be served, demanding the 16-year-old girl be sentenced as an adult.
That call is now renewed with increased urgency. The teen’s next court hearing is Nov. 10, and the victim’s family wants an answer on how she will be sentenced before then.
“When you’re 16 years old you should know better. I want the justice system changed,” Longman said.
When asked if there was any indication the Crown would push for an adult sentence, Longman said he had “no reaction.”
The gathering outside court also yielded more information about what happened the night before Cantre’s death.
Longman said the boy’s mother was sleeping in the room next door. She was also at the courthouse and remained quiet except to say the teen killer should “go to hell.”
“It just hurts every day. You wake up in tears every morning. It tore our family apart. All I see is pain every day,” Longman said.
“Could I ever forgive her for what she did? Yeah, I can. Because I’m a Christian and a strong believer in the creator.”
As for the rest of the group outside court, Longman noted some had driven as much as three and half hours from Loon Lake and George Gordon First Nation to attend the hearing.
In order to cover the costs, the family has fundraised through a variety of means including 50/50 draws and burger sales.
While he’s grateful for the outpouring of familial support, Longman often speaks about the void left in the family following Cantre’s tragic death.
“It’s hard waking up every day and knowing she took my baby grandson away,” he said.
“I’m not going to see his first Halloween or his first Christmas. Stuff like that, stuff everybody needs to see their grandchildren growing up.”