Eight victim impact statements painted a picture of how the 2017 stabbing death of Fort Good Hope father Lloyd Edgi affected family and friends emotionally, physically and financially.

They formed “a testament to the strong bonds (Edgi) has formed throughout his life,” Crown prosecutor Jill Andrews said during Colten McNeely’s sentencing hearing in NWT Supreme Court Monday.

In the early morning of Sept. 3, 2017, McNeely, then 24, drunkenly stabbed Edgi, 28, nine times in Fort Good Hope. McNeely was charged with second degree murder but later convicted of the lesser crime of manslaughter following a two week trial last year. 

Colten McNeely, 27, is convicted of manslaughter for stabbing Lloyd Edgi. Exhibit photo.

In the judge alone trial, Justice Andrew Mahar accepted the defence that McNeely was acting in order to defend himself.

McNeely and Edgi had been arguing over an affair between Edgi’s partner and McNeely. McNeely apparently armed himself with a knife to go and smooth things over with Edgi. When Edgi began pushing and hitting him, McNeely used his knife to stop the assault. 

The Crown submits a seven to eight year term of imprisonment is appropriate given the high level of moral blameworthiness associated with the use of a weapon – especially since all stab wounds were to the front chest area where the offender is “almost certain to cause serious harm or lethal injury,” Andrews said. 

“Colten was reckless,” she said, adding that the use of a knife was “excessive, unreasonable self-defence and ended the life of a beloved young man.”

Defence lawyer Peter Harte argued a sentence of four to five years would be more appropriate, suggesting the imprisonment be followed by three years of probation. 

He acknowledged the difficulties of Edgi’s loved ones in the public gallery, but reminded the court that McNeely is the subject of the sentencing hearing. 

“The loss can’t be fixed by the sentencing process,” he said. “It’s not as though tragedy becomes any less tragic because (McNeely) is sentenced to 10 years rather than five.” 

Based on the pre-sentence report, Harte called the stabbing “incredibly at odds” with who McNeely is.

Harte said McNeely told him he would live a sober life to avoid future dealings with the law.

Edgi’s cousins, aunts, sister, mother, and partner told the court about Edgi’s “big laugh,” the way he cared for his two children, his strong work ethic, about his love of food and family and sports and how his absence is felt at family gatherings. 

One aunt, Beverly Masuzumi, told the court about the stool where Edgi had always sat to eat his Christmas and Easter dinners. That stool has since been left empty in his memory. 

She described Edgi as a “hard worker, kindhearted person, and a doting father.”

“Auntie will always love you,” Masuzumi said in her statement. “Until we meet again.”

With common-law partner, Jeanette Kakfwi, Edgi was fathering his eight-year-old son and five-year-old daughter. In his absence, Kakfwi told the court their daughter “cries and prays for her daddy everyday.”

Kakfwi said she is confused about why Edgi has not returned home and asks if the family can visit him in heaven. 

Family and friends remembered Lloyd Edgi, right, as a “family man.” Here, Jeanette Kakfwi, left, holds daughter Pazanne and Edgi carries son Hunter on his shoulders at the Christmas Parade in Yellowknife. 
Photo courtesy of Jeanette Kakfwi.

“I don’t know how to explain this to my five-year-old,” she said. 

Their son, she said, “is completely broken.” 

She told the court that the family had plans to move back to Fort Smith to allow her to finish her Bachelor of Education. Edgi had planned to start a business, she said, and had obtained a business license a month before he was killed. 

“There were so many good things we wanted to do,” she said. 

Now she said she feels “angry, traumatized, and disconnected from life.” 

“Physically I never knew you could feel your heart strings break”

Edgi “made an impression on everyone who came into his life,” she told the court. “He could sit with someone for a short time and pull out that person’s best characteristics and make them feel so special and proud.”

After hearing the numerous teary statements from Edgi’s family and friends, many of whom were McNeely’s friends as well, McNeely expressed his sense of “shame” to the court.

“I wish I could take (Edgi)’s family’s pain away,” he said. “If time in jail could bring (Edgi) back I’d be happy to serve all the time I’ve got.”

“I’m ashamed,” he said, adding that he hopes the community of Fort Good Hope can one day forgive him.

Mahar is expected to deliver McNeely’s sentence on Wednesday morning. 

Natalie Pressman

Reporting courts and cops and general news, Natalie started with NNSL Media in 2020. Before moving to Yellowknife, Natalie worked as a community radio trainer in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First...

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