STREET VIOLENCE WATCH
Wednesday, May 27 2015
‘Daddy fought, Daddy cried, Daddy went to sleep’: Impact statements read at sentencing for youth killer
By Ryan Cormier, Edmonton Journal May 27, 2015 7:55 AM
John Kwiatkowski, 29, was murdered while he slept in April 2011 in his northeast Edmonton home.
For an hour, family of John Kwiatkowski told court how the random murder of their cherished son and brother shattered their lives four years ago. As his crying mother Cindy said, they could’ve talked about him for days.
Kwiatkowski, 29, was murdered while he slept in April 2011 by a 17-year-old during a random break-in. His infant daughter witnessed the killing.
“Never in my life did I think my son’s life would be taken away by murder while his little girl watched,” Cindy Kwiatkowski said. “If this can happen to John, it can happen to anyone.”
Nick Kwiatkowski cried as he spoke about his life of looking up to his older brother, who considered his family his best friends.
“He was the one to cheer you up, no matter what kind of day you were having. He was the greatest father a little girl could ask for. She’ll never again hear his bedtime stories.”
Kwiatkowski’s family read their victim impact statements Tuesday at a hearing to determine if his killer will be sentenced for second-degree murder as a youth or adult.
More than a dozen family members sobbed and left wet tissues across the gallery benches as they spoke about their inability to close the gap the murder left in their lives. Previously close, they have drifted apart as their family gatherings end in tears.
Through the misery, the 22-year-old in the prisoner’s box sat with his head bowed. He was nearly 18 when he randomly broke into Kwiatkowski’s Rundle Heights home the night of April 13, 2011.
Eight days before the murder, the youth escaped custody in Regina and drove to Edmonton in a series of stolen cars.
Armed with a metal pipe, the youth entered Kwiatkowski’s home through the open front door. In the master bedroom, he struck Kwiatkowski in the head 20 times. Kwiatkowski’s two-year-old daughter came into the bedroom and was inadvertently hit by the pipe as the youth swung it at her father. She suffered minor injuries to her face and hand.
“(The youth) took her back to her bedroom and helped her get back to sleep,” Crown prosecutor Jim Stewart told court.
Later, the girl told family members what she’d seen. “Daddy fought, Daddy cried, Daddy went to sleep.”
The youth drank a ginger ale and left his DNA on the empty can before he fled. Kwiatkowski’s wife, a night-shift nurse, discovered her husband’s body and her sleeping daughter when she arrived home.
In May 2012, the youth confessed the killing to an Edmonton detective.
“I was drunk and I just pretty much took my anger right out on him,” the youth said during an interview. He claimed he wouldn’t have entered Kwiatkowski’s house if the door was locked and would’ve eventually “took my anger out on someone else on the street.”
The hearing ended abruptly when defence lawyer Peter Royal challenged the qualifications of a psychiatrist who spoke with the youth. A delay to answer that challenge is expected to take weeks.