Dozens of grieving family members filled a Prince Albert provincial courtroom today for an appearance by a young man from Sandy Bay accused of murder.
The youth, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was charged with second-degree murder following an incident Oct. 9. The victim, 19-year-old Jared Philip Dallan Merasty, was found unresponsive and was taken to the local health centre for treatment, but later succumbed to his injuries. The youth was arrested and charged the following day, RCMP said, and made his first court appearance in Pelican Narrows.
Although the youth’s bail hearing was set to proceed today, the matter was delayed until December so he can undergo a psychological and psychiatric assessment in order to determine his mental and emotional fitness. The assessment will be performed at the Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford, and the youth will remain in custody in the interim.
Outside the courtroom, the victim’s mother Crystal Merasty told paNOW her son was an active community member who was well-liked and always willing to lend a helping hand. Jared was finishing his studies while working as a part-time janitor at a local school, she said, and served as a volunteer firefighter. Her son was closely connected to Indigenous culture and tradition, Merasty added, and loved to spend his time hunting and gathering traditional medicines for her.
Jared's birthday was Oct. 21, his mother said, but instead of a celebration she now has to plan a funeral.
Merasty said she had never laid eyes on the youth accused of killing her son before this morning, and does not know whether there was any connection between the accused and Jared. Her family still doesn’t know the circumstances of her son’s death, she said, and the community is in shock.
“They couldn’t really tell me anything other than the court date,” she said.
Merasty said she will fight for justice for her son with all of her strength, and is hoping the youth, if convicted, receives a sentence of “at least 10 years.”
“I’m going to be my son’s voice while he’s gone,” she said. “I’ll never rest until I get justice.”
On Twitter: @TMacPhersonNews
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