The Crown is seeking an 18-year sentence, less time served, for Jared Herrick’s role in a fatal fire in 2021 on Bruce Ave.
Though Crown Attorney David Kirk originally asked for 20 years, he noted later, after prodding from defence lawyer Len Walker, that the Crown’s office had told his client they would ask for two years less.
The Crown is also proposing a lifetime weapons ban, the requirement to submit Herrick’s DNA to the national data bank, and a non-communication order.
Walker proposed a 13-year sentence for his client on July 12.
Due to the delays, Justice Boucher told the court he would need more time to come to a decision on sentencing. The matter was put over to assignment court on August 1, in order to select a date for the sentencing to be heard.
Beginning Monday, July 10, and continuing July 11 and 12, the sentencing hearing was set to finish before delays added extra time on Friday, July 14.
Harrick has each day faced Justice Patrick Boucher and the families of the victims, who sat directly behind him. Herrick was seated beside his lawyer, rather than in the prisoner’s box, and each day wore the same grey shirt, black pants and black vest.
Both Herrick and Phillippe Jeannotte were originally charged with three counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, arson and conspiracy to commit murder after the fatal fire,
Another man, Liam Stinson, will face trial in the spring of 2024. The details of the crime are under a publication ban until Stinson faces trial.
In jail since their April 2021 arrest, both Herrick and Jeannotte pleaded guilty last December to three counts of the lesser charge of manslaughter and one count of arson causing bodily harm.
Jamie-Lynn Lori-Lee Rose, Jasmine Marie-Claire Somers and Guy Armand Henri died as a result of the fire and a fourth person was able to escape the home by jumping out of a window.
In March, Jeannotte was sentenced to 16 years in prison – receiving 13 years for each death to be served concurrently – and ordered to pay the City of Greater Sudbury $250,000 in restitution for damage to the geared-to-income units damaged by the fire.
He received three years of credit for pre-sentencing custody, including 125 days of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crown Attorney Kirk also made suggestions for calculation of pre-sentencing custody, noting the usual 1.5 days’ credit for each day served.
As Herrick spent time at both Sudbury District Jail and Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC) in Penetanguishene, the time spent in lockdown at both will be accounted for as well.
In his statement to the court, Herrick said his substance abuse issues caused him to lie, steal, lose employment and relationship with family. He wept as he read his statement.
“I eventually found myself in trouble with the law, in and out of jail, getting help with nothing starting over and over again,” he said. “A vicious cycle of depression and addiction that fueled each other. I couldn't take it anymore. In a selfish attempt to end my life I sought after fentanyl. It welcomed me with a warm hug and freed me from my emotional anguish. I found comfort in the inner sense of apathy that came with it.”
Herrick said that he was “oblivious to its (fentanyl) fangs, piercing my flesh and infecting me with its venom.”
He said the more he consumed, the further he sank into fentanyl’s grips.
“In the days leading up to the fire, I made a series of horrible decisions that would forever change my life,” he said.
Of his sentence, Herrick said he was not focused on the release dates, only the opportunities that lie ahead.
“All I can think to do is to take the time that I get and turn it into a transitional period,” he said, speaking of his current sobriety. “The price of liberty for me is eternal vigilance. I owe that to Guy, Jamie and Jasmine. That will forever be my inspiration to change my life. And perhaps one day I can offer guidance to someone who is as lost as I was.”
The victims' families wept heavily at the end of Herrick’s statement.
Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with Sudbury.com.