A file photo of the Yellowknife courthouse. Luisa Esteban/Cabin Radio
A Fort Good Hope 25-year-old serving a nine-year sentence for a fatal 2022 stabbing was sentenced on Friday to a further 15 months for a previous assault and stabbing.
Thaddeus McNeely had already pleaded guilty to assault and assault causing bodily harm related to two separate incidents in Fort Good Hope in 2021.
According to an agreed statement of facts, after trying to break up a fight at a house on May 8, 2021, McNeely pulled his partner at the time off a bed and punched her in the face. He later called the woman who owned the home and tried to speak to his partner. When the woman refused, he threatened to kill her.
McNeely called the woman back several times but she did not pick up. He then returned to the home and broke one of the windows with a metal baseball bat.
Additional charges of uttering threats and mischief were stayed by the Crown.
In the second case, on November 29, 2021, McNeely tried to break up a fight between his partner and another woman when two men intervened to hold him back. After McNeely was knocked down and kicked, he pulled out a knife and stabbed the two men.
One man suffered a stab wound to his thigh and was treated at Fort Good Hope’s health centre. The other was stabbed in the abdomen and arm and medevaced to Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital.
The second man was later transported to Edmonton’s University of Alberta Hospital for diagnostic laparoscopic surgery – surgery of the abdomen – that determined his diaphragm had not been perforated, and allayed concerns about fluid around his heart.
Territorial Court judge Jeannie Scott imposed a 15-month sentence jointly recommended by the Crown and defence.
McNeely has nine days’ credit for time served in pre-sentencing custody.
Scott said while the charges are serious and McNeely has a lengthy criminal record with other violent offences, he pleaded guilty to the charges, which is a mitigating factor.
A pre-sentencing report details that McNeely, who is Indigenous, had family members who attended residential school. The report states he witnessed and experienced violence and misuse of alcohol and drugs growing up. He began using drugs when he was eight years old and began drinking when he was 11, with substance use contributing to his criminal record.
‘Genuine and real remorse’
McNeely appeared in court by video from the Grande Cache Correctional Centre in Alberta, where he is currently serving nine years for manslaughter and aggravated assault. In that case, he admitted to stabbing three people on the night of his 24th birthday, including his partner at the time, resulting in the death of Samantha Kelly, her best friend.
“I just want to apologize for everything that I’ve done,” he told the court on Friday.
“I regret it all.”
McNeely said he thinks about the offences he has committed every day and feels guilty. He became emotional when he spoke about how he will miss time with his young daughter while he is in prison, and how drugs and alcohol contributed to his crimes.
“It hurts me every day,” he said.
McNeely said he wants to be better for himself and his family. He said he is setting goals and taking programming while in prison. His lawyer said he is planning to complete his GED and hopes to get his welding certificate.
“I just want to be a role model to the next generation when I am released,” McNeely said.
Judge Scott wished McNeely luck on his path forward.
“I can tell that there’s genuine and real remorse there,” she said.