‘No one has ever hurt me the way you have’: Victim’s mom

Man sentenced in death of young father

Carol Sherry stepped to the podium in Superior Court Friday, steps away from the young man who killed her son, took a deep breath and burst into tears, unable to read the victim impact statement she had prepared.

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“No one has ever hurt me the way you have,” assistant Crown attorney Jeff Mazin said as he took over reading Sherry’s statement.

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Behind them both, Nicholas Craig sat in the prisoner’s dock with his head bowed low.

“I know I’ll never get my son back but I hope the court gives you a lifetime.”

Craig, now 22, pleaded guilty in January to the out-of-the-blue homicide that took the life of Sherry’s son, Jeremy Clause on Oct. 22, 2022, the same day Clause was to be celebrating his father’s birthday.

Craig was sentenced Friday to a total of nine and a half years in prison.

Sherry said her son was at a friend’s, helping to cook breakfast, when Craig, who he had never met before, began arguing with him about the bacon.

The court was told Craig – who was diagnosed as a teen with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, and was struggling to find the right medications for his issues – pulled out a knife and stabbed Clause just once.

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But once was enough, as the knife hit the young father’s heart.

Sherry said she visited Clause’s grave and recently told him “It’s almost over.”

She and her husband, Hank, now are the main caregivers for Clause’s six-year-old son who tells them “My dad is an angel now and lives in the sky.”

Craig’s sentencing was put over for several months in order for him to have a Gladu report prepared, but that was halted when the report writer couldn’t seem to confirm Indigenous heritage for the young man.

Instead, his lawyer presented the judge with 16 letters of support from family, friends, neighbors and even a hairdresser, saying Craig’s behavior in stabbing Clause was completely uncharacteristic of the man they knew.

“His medication was being adjusted by his doctor and it caused irrational behavior,” said defense lawyer Jordana Goldlist.

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“This was a minor verbal argument over nothing that escalated and Mr. Craig made a horrible decision to pull a knife and stab Jeremy Clause in the chest, once.”

Craig himself rose and told the judge he had struggled for years with hearing voices in his head and he apologized to Clause’s family.

“I made a horrible mistake. I wasn’t thinking. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t pray for forgiveness and I wish the court could read my mind.”

Justice Harrison Arrell said the incident turned into a tragedy for both families and he agreed to a joint sentencing submission hammered out by the Crown and defence.

Arrell said Craig pleaded guilty, showed clear remorse and took responsibility early, saving the community the cost of a trial and the witnesses from having to relive the “nightmare”. He noted Craig is young, with no criminal record, but with a lot of family support.

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On the other hand, said the judge, Craig was carrying a knife for “no plausible reason” and committed a violent, vicious attack.

After stabbing Clause, Craig ran off without rendering aid or calling for help.

“There is no sentence I can impose that will restore Jeremy to where he should be, as a living, breathing contributor to his family and society,” said the judge, emphasizing his nine-and-a-half year sentence wasn’t a measure of the value of Clause’s life.

Arrell gave Craig the usual credit for already serving just over 18 months in jail, calculated at 27 months of time served, leaving him more than seven years left in prison.

“I’m glad it’s over,” said Clause’s mother outside the court.

“It might not be the kind of sentence I wanted him to get but it’s over.”

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