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Douglas Jeffries sentenced to 8 years, six months in fatal downtown Sudbury stabbing

Family members of Jeffries’ victim, Deion Faries, say his death has had a devastating impact

The man who stabbed and killed Deion Faries on Oct. 14, 2020 in downtown Sudbury pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Thursday.

Douglas Jeffries pleaded guilty to the downgraded charge on Feb. 17. Jeffries was originally charged with second-degree murder for killing Faries, who was 25.

Superior Court Justice Alex Kurke sentenced Jeffries to eight years and six months, but with time served, he has six years and five months left. He was also given a lifetime weapons ban and was ordered to submit a sample of his DNA.

Kurke agreed with a joint sentencing submission by both the Crown and defence lawyer Michael Haraschuk.

This proposed sentence fits within the range given by the Court of Appeal of eight to 12 years for aggravated manslaughter, he said.

“I wish you the best of luck going forward,” Kurke told Jeffries. “The way forward, I know, will be very difficult in many respects, but I encourage you to attempt to find a way to deal with that drug issue that besets you and get it under control.”

On Oct. 14, 2020, Jeffries and Faries were walking together downtown. They attended the Shoppers Drug Mart on Elm Street together to obtain their daily dose of methadone from the pharmacy, the court heard, as Justice Kurke read the agreed statement of facts.

Jeffries and Faries knew each other well and often spent time together in or around downtown Sudbury. After consuming the methadone at Shoppers Drug Mart, they left the store together and walked eastbound on Elm Street towards the downtown core. 

At approximately 1:45 p.m., they crossed the intersection of Elm and Durham streets in downtown Sudbury. As they walked across the street, they exchanged words. 

Jeffries hit Faries with his fist as they crossed the street at the corner of Elm and Durham. 

Fairies dropped his bags and prepared for a fight. Jeffries, on the other hand, brandished two knives, one in each hand. Further words were exchanged between the men. 

Jeffries took a few steps towards Faries and the two men engaged simultaneously. They swung at each other, each connecting with their blows.

With one of the knives, Jeffries connected with a single fatal blow to the left side of Faries’ head. Faries immediately fell to the ground, while Jeffries walked away. 

The entire incident was captured on video surveillance and was 13 seconds in length. The blade entered Faries skull just behind the left ear causing a “catastrophic brain injury,” said Kurke.

Faries was transported to Health Sciences North. He never regained consciousness. He was placed on life support, and on Oct. 15 2020, at 1:27 p.m., Faries was pronounced dead.

Video surveillance led to Jeffries being positively identified as the individual who stabbed Faries. A warrant for Jeffries’ arrest was issued Oct. 16, 2020. At 1:13 p.m. Jeffries was found in Toronto and arrested for second-degree murder. He has been in custody since.

Faries and Jeffries are known to each other, the court heard. Their families are connected through various relationships, and Faries had two sons with Jeffries’ niece.

Faries’ murder has had a devastating and long-lasting effect on his family.

Emily Jane Faries was the aunt and surrogate mother to Faries. Her victim impact statement was read by assistant Crown attorney Mathieu Ansell. 

She said her nephew and his siblings lost their parents at a young age, and they all grew very close as a result.

“Deion’s death has been devastating,” she said. 

Deion was the baby of the family. His siblings, Raymond, Nicholas, Jessica, Skylar, Maggie, Jesse, Tonya, and Clifford are having difficulty dealing with the loss.

She said he and his brother, Clifford, were like twins, always together.

“The loss of my brother has been the most traumatic, the most depressing and heartbreaking experience I have ever had to endure, especially with the way we lost him,” said Clifford in the victim impact statement.

“Since Deion's death, it has been very different among us siblings. It's hard to talk about him. It's easier to stay away from each other so we are not reminded so much of Deion. The loss of my brother has definitely made me want to give up. It is very hard to carry on day to day. My daughter and son are babies and they will never know their uncle.”

His sister, Tonya, cries at the mention of his name. Deion’s older brother, Skylar, has seen his mental health deteriorate, to the point his family said he “has become a lost soul on the streets.”

Emily Jane Faries told the court she wishes she could have been there that day to save him, to warn him of the danger that was to take his life. 

“I literally feel the pain in my heart and it is very heavy,” she wrote. “It will never go away. It never goes away. He is so dearly missed by all of us. The most difficult part is not being able to comprehend and accept how he died. Our loss of Deion has left a gaping hole in our family.”

Justice Kurke said Jeffries has a significant criminal record with no fewer than five convictions for assaults - almost one a year between 2011 and 2016 - all resulting in periods of incarceration. 

“The rest of the record looks like the record of someone who abuses drugs and alcohol,” said Kurke. “It has convictions for breaking and entering, possession of stolen property, theft, being unlawfully in a dwelling, fraud, and numerous breaches of court orders of probation orders and bail orders. 

“This is a typical criminal record for someone who has suffered the ills of intergenerational trauma, and it shows the sobering effects of that trauma visited upon indigenous persons in Canada and the survivors or families of the survivors of those who attended residential schools.”

The intergenerational trauma from residential school in these two families has been an important aspect of this case, said Kurke.

He said Jeffries’ situation is a graphic and alarming example of the effects of “a long history in this country of colonialism, the displacement of Indigenous persons and the lingering effects of residential schools.”

“That's the story of this case. But with that as background, we must deal with this in the paradigm set out by the Criminal Code,” said Kurke.

Killing is never a light offence, he said. It is a brutal, terrible offence in which one person takes away everything that another person is or ever will be. The community needs to know that the criminal justice system treats this most seriously.

Deterrence requires that Jeffries, who has lived a violent life to this point, be made to understand that whatever pulled the trigger that cost Faries his life must not be allowed to get near that trigger again, said Kurke.