Weyburn man jailed for 8 years

Weyburn businessman Dustin McFadden, 36, was sentenced to eight years in a penitentiary after he pleaded guilty in Weyburn provincial court on Thursday to three charges, including attempted murder.
He was originally set to have a two-day preliminary hearing on Thursday and Friday, to determine if there was enough evidence to go to trial in front of a jury, but at the start of the hearing one of his lawyers, Mark Brayford, and the Crown prosecutor, James Fitzgerald, informed the court they were in discussions and may be able to resolve the charges.
In the end, defence and Crown jointly made a submission to Judge K.E. Bellerose to plead guilty to three charges, with a global sentence of seven years 10 months, added on to the two months he has already served in custody for a total of eight years.
The three charges included one count of attempted murder, one count of break-and-enter with the intent to commit an indictable offence, and one count of breach of an undertaking. The other original counts were withdrawn by the Crown in return for the three guilty pleas.
Fitzgerald then gave Judge Bellerose a synopsis of the agreed facts of the incident, which McFadden admitted to as part of the proceedings.
He noted McFadden was put under a peace bond on Oct. 21, which was the recognizance he was under at the time of the incident, which began with his drinking in the lounge at Trifon’s on the evening of Dec. 7.
Around 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 8, he drove himself to his former spouse’s home north of Weyburn, where he saw the vehicle of her boyfriend parked there. He forced his way through the front door, and he went directly to the bedroom of his former spouse where she was, along with one of his children.
There was a confrontation, during which she pulled out her cell phone, saying she was going to call the police.
She was subsequently struck several times on the head, then he left the bedroom taking her cell with him, yelling several times, “Where is he? I’m going to kill him!”
The victim had a second cell in her room, and she used this to call the Weyburn Police Service; dispatch recorded that this call came in around 3 a.m.
McFadden made his way through the house to the stairs, and he went to the basement, pulling out a switchblade knife and attacked his ex-spouse’s boyfriend. The knife was later found by the RCMP in a closet, with traces of blood on it.
In the violent confrontation, the boyfriend was stabbed several times; Judge Bellerose was shown photographs of the significant injuries suffered, including one at the top of the shoulder which was deep and just missed his carotid artery by inches.
A second major wound was a puncture in the back, and he had a significant cut on his left arm, with several other smaller cuts. During the fight, at one point the boyfriend grabbed the blade of the knife, causing a significant cut to his hand.
Eventually the boyfriend was able to get away from McFadden and ran upstairs, and went out the front door just as the city police arrived on the scene. They held him in custody at first not knowing the situation, and McFadden was subsequently arrested at the front door.
“The injuries were fairly significant; he is still unable to raise his right arm above his shoulder,” said Fitzgerald of the boyfriend, indicating he is still in rehab for the injury to the shoulder.
The Crown indicated that both victims were downstairs in the court house, and both declined to offer a victim impact statement.
Brayford, one of McFadden’s two lawyers, told the judge that he and his former spouse had had a long relationship resulting in four children, ranging in age from one to five years old; the relationship had mostly been stable until they separated on June 2.
He noted McFadden had a significant number of family and friends present in the courtroom to support him, and his intent had originally been to try and reconcile with his ex-spouse.
Judge Bellerose questioned this, asking if this is what he was seeking why he had a switchblade knife with him. Brayford indicated his client worked as a directional driller, and carried the knife with him like a pocket knife.
Brayford said his client was remorseful for his actions, and while “he doesn’t relish going to a penitentiary any longer than he has to”, his wish is to be able to have a relationship with his children as much as he is able.
The lawyer also noted to the judge his client pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, not wanting to put the victims through the ordeal of a trial, and he pled to the original charge, not a lesser charge like aggravated assault.
McFadden’s voice broke with emotion as he expressed his remorse for his actions. “I want to say I’m very very sorry. I take full responsibility for my actions, and I’m just really sorry to put everybody in this position,” he told court, wiping his eyes. “I just want to make sure I can still see my kids. I will pay my debt to society for what I have done.”
Judge Bellerose accepted the recommendation for the sentence for the attempted murder charge, and told McFadden he only missed a full murder charge by a matter of inches.
He felt the sentence on break-and-enter with intent was light, as the Crown recommended one year concurrent; the judge felt it should be more like four years, but left it at two years concurrent, plus one year concurrent for the breach of an undertaking.
In addition, the sentence for the $600 victim impact surcharge will be concurrent with the longer sentence, and he will be required to have his DNA put in a national registry.
He will be prohibited from owning any firearms for 10 years from the date of his release from prison, and there is to be no contact with the boyfriend except through a lawyer. As he will want to have contact with his children, there will be different arrangements for him to contact his former spouse, also through a lawyer.

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