London News & Search
An emotional Markus Desousa tried to look at his written words, but in the end spoke from the heart.
“I’m a head case now,” he said while standing in the witness box at the sentencing hearing for Frederick Oag, 41, the man who stabbed him and his close friend Shane Sturgess, 45, in front of Oag’s house on Nov. 9, 2014.
Desousa testified at Oag’s trial, at which he was found guilty of manslaughter and aggravated assault. Thursday was his chance to tell Superior Court Justice Jonathon George in a victim impact statement what his injuries and losing Sturgess meant to him.
“This is a a lot harder than I thought, eh,” he said almost shyly, then veered off his script.
“Our lives will never be the same. We miss him. Shane is gone.”
Desousa and Sturgess, who worked together six days a week at a car seat factory, were heading back to an Adelaide Street home after a night out at the local bars.
As they headed down the sidewalk, they ended up in a confrontation with Oag, who had come out on his porch.
Evidence at the trial was that after an initial fist fight, Desousa and Sturgess kept going down the sidewalk. Oag was seen by a witness heading back into his house, then coming back out and calling the men back.
Oag maintained in his testimony that the stabbings of both men were in self-defence.
Sturgess, who died from blood loss caused after Oag stabbed him in the leg, severing his femoral artery, was a loyal friend and neighbourhood champion in a part of London that is often ignored.
In a victim impact statement written by Sturgess’s brother in British Columbia and read by London police Det. Craig Holland, the court was told of Sturgess’s firm belief he could make Adelaide Street a better place for everyone.
“A bright light in an area that has deteriorated over time,” his brother wrote.
He bought the home he grew up in, next door to his grandmother and helped her until her death at age 86, still living at home.
He coached hockey, even though he had no kids of his own. When the local Legion was in danger of closing, he held weekly poker nights that included a stipulation that everyone had to buy a membership – saving the facility.
A memorial tournament in his name raises money for the Sunshine Foundation.
He was loyal to his friends and “helped people his whole life,” his brother wrote.
Even on vacation to visit his siblings, he pitched in and helped run a family restaurant when an elderly family member had a heart attack.
“Shane had that knack of making you feel you mattered,” his brother wrote.
And his brother always said, “there’s no success in succeeding when everyone else is failing.”
Oag’s defence lawyer Geoff Snow pitched for a sentence in the range of six to eight years for manslaughter and two years to be served with that sentence for the aggravated assault on Desousa.
He suggested to George that while there was excessive force, the judge should take into account possible self-defence.
The Crown will make its sentencing suggestion this afternoon.
Desousa said during his victim impact statement directly to Oag, who was seated in the prisoner’s box, that it didn’t matter what the sentence will be, “it just sucks.”
He told George that Sturgess’s death has left him angry. “My oldest daughter says I’m an angrier father now.”
His middle daughter is afraid of being in London and fears her friends will be harmed or killed, like Sturgess.
He read some passages written by his wife Stephanie, who said that Sturgess was part of their family and made their daughters feel special.
His last words to Desousa’s wife on the night of the stabbing, when the two pals left for bars were “I’ll take care of him.”
Yet, Desousa said Sturgess is gone and “here I am.”
The sentencing continues this afternoon.
London News & Search