A 14-year-old pleaded guilty to manslaughter Thursday in connection with the killing of well-known La Ronge restaurateur Simon Grant.
Grant was killed in April during an armed robbery at his restaurant, Louisiana’s Bar-B-Que. After their investigation, local RCMP arrested and charged three suspects; 18-year-old Austin Bird and two youths, ages 14 and 17.
The 14-year-old youth, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a La Ronge courtroom, making him the second of the three accused killers to do so.
Grant’s widow Cora Laich was in the courtroom, along with her teenage daughter. In an emotional moment, Laich said the youth stood in court and apologized directly to her for his actions.
“He looked at me and said ‘I’m sorry for the harm I caused your family.’” Laich said. “He faced me and my daughter and told us that.”
Laich said the apology provided more closure for her and her family, but also acknowledged the youth’s age and said she would like to see him rehabilitated rather than punished.
“I went up to him and told him that I’m grateful for him pleading guilty and taking responsibility and that I wanted him to turn his life around,” she said. “It would be what Simon would want him to do.”
The teen will make his next court appearance in La Ronge in February, though he will likely be sentenced at a later date.
Bird, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in October, was sentenced to seven years in custody. The 17-year-old youth has yet to enter a plea and is presumed innocent at this stage.
A fourth suspect, 18-year-old Matthew Nagy-Charles, was also arrested as an accessory after the fact, but the charge was later stayed by the Crown.