The mother of a local teen who was shot to death outside a south-end Barrie home in November 2021 told the court today that her life has been “shattered.”
The 17-year-old victim was killed Nov. 19, 2021, outside a River Ridge Road home, near Golden Meadow Road and Hurst Drive. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His name, as well as information that could identify him, cannot be published under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
His mother, whose name is also protected, provided a victim impact statement in court Thursday during a sentencing hearing for Alexander Craggs, who has been convicted of accessory to murder. A first-degree murder charge is also still pending against Craggs, but BarrieToday has been told it could be withdrawn after the other charges are dealt with.
“Not only was my son gone forever, but I would never be the same again,” she said. “I miss him beyond explanation, the many texts and spoken phrases of ‘I love you, Mom,’ ‘Thanks so much, Mom,’ ‘Miss you, Mom.’
“To have one more day to hear him utter those words to me, to have him wrap his arms around me and make me feel his love for me without words one more time, to see that smile and look into his shining eyes just for a moment — all of these things have been taken from me in an instant and forever.”
Craggs, who is scheduled to be sentenced later this month, also spoke at the hearing. He was 18 years old at the time of the homicide.
Craggs was charged along with two 17-year-old males with first-degree murder in the death of a 17-year-old victim. The names of the other accused are also protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
In an agreed statement of facts, Craggs admitted to driving the vehicle that dropped off the other two accused in the area of the victim’s house. The Crown read aloud that Craggs admitted to knowing what was about to transpire as he told one of the accused in the vehicle, “Don’t show me the gun.”
Craggs also admitted to picking up one of the accused after the shooting at an agreed-upon location.
The Crown pointed out that once Craggs was made aware of what was going to take place, he “did not call 911, he didn’t try to discourage them from shooting and brutally killing someone he barely knew, he didn’t even drive away and not look back.
“He did exactly as they asked and waited for (the accused) to return to the car and then he ferried him away from the area to disappear into the night,” the Crown added.
The Crown and the defence lawyer, Lee Sela, have agreed on a sentence of three-and-a-half years in jail for Craggs, minus any pretrial custody credited at one-and-a-half years to one year, court heard. Following that, a period of 12 to 18 months of probation was also suggested.
“Alexander Craggs doesn’t deserve to walk the streets and live his life as he wishes,” said the victim’s mom. “He did not pull the trigger, but by volunteering to drive, he thereby knowingly participated in a crime with the intent to harm another human being.”
The victim’s father also spoke and described to the court the nightmares he has endured and how his son’s death has changed his mental health and his personality.
“(The images of that night) do intrude, however. Every time my mind is idle, every time I overhear colleagues having discussions about family and children, the images, the anger and the grief return,” he told the court. “Sharp sounds or clatter lead to an involuntary tightness of the chest.”
Craggs was given the chance to address the court and the victim’s family. He spoke for almost three minutes, mainly about the good deeds he has done and how his life was before the shooting.
“I am not inherently bad. I hold on to these virtues from before I really knew what virtuous really meant,” Craggs said. “Being in jail has helped me understand that they hold more value to me than a cell.”
Craggs, who court heard has no previous criminal record, then directed his comments to the victim’s family.
“I am truly, deeply sorry for the loss of your son. I can’t begin to imagine the grief that you feel, but I hope someday that I may be able to earn your forgiveness,” he said.
Craggs, who was charged as an adult, had previously pleaded guilty in December 2022 to being an accessory after the fact of murder.
He is scheduled to be be back in court on Wednesday, June 28 at 2 p.m. for a sentencing.