Gregson a killer, not a murderer: Defence
Former RCMP officer Kevin Gregson is not just a killer, but a murderer.
That was the decision delivered in less than a day by the jury deciding the fate of former RCMP officer Kevin Gregson.
When the verdict of first degree murder was announced just after 9 p.m., Tuesday after about nine hours of deliberation, you could see and hear the relief from the family members who'd attended the trial everyday.
Soon after the relief, the tears began to flow.
The decision carries with it an automatic life sentence for the brutal knife murder of Const. Eric Czapnik in Dec. 29, 2008.
The days in the courtroom were brutal for family members, who had to relive the horrendous and shocking death of Czapnik, such an honourable man, who loved his family, adored his wife Anna and who had always wanted to be a police officer.
They were held captive to the egotistical ramblings of the man who killed Czapnik, a man who appeared to have no remorse for ending a life so worthy.
On Tuesday night, family and colleagues finally had their chance to speak.
Son Arthur Czapnik asked the packed courtroom - complete with 20 members of his father's platoon - for a minute of silence in honour of his father.
It was an incredibly moving 60 seconds, with so many people who loved Eric Czapnik and continue to mourn his senseless murder.
Turning around to look directly at Gregson, he told the court he was studying to become a police officer like his father, and like his father's father.
"Gregson," he said looking right at his father's killer, "because of people like you I need to be a police officer, to help our community to put away people like you."
When he finished, Justice Douglas Rutherford spoke.
"I hope you and your family do feel the tremendous sympathy and support that flows to your from the whole city," he said, his voice appearing to crack with emotion.
Arthur Czapnik wasn't the only one to address Gregson their victim impact statements.
Const. Chris Getz, who worked closely with Czapnik, let loose on the accused.
"Your narcissistic, bloated self image is appalling. Your unwavering lack of remorse is something I will never understand or forgive. You destroyed a family; you murdered a friend, a husband, a father, a hero. Your words ring hollow with me, with the Ottawa Police family and society," Getz said.
Paramedic Virginia Warner spoke on behalf of the four paramedics now considered heroes for their role in trying to save Czapnik's life.
"As paramedics we are trained to help people, having to watch and feel a man die in your own hands has left an unimaginable impact," she said, calling Czapnik a hero.
But perhaps the most heartbreaking victim impact statement came from Czapnik's widow, Anna Korutowska.
With her young five-year-old son Anthony listening, Korutowksa spoke of the loss of her husband, her partner, her best friend.
"There is one statement that I agree on with my husband's killer. Eric was a good man," she said.
She also spoke on behalf of Eric's parents, who couldn't attend this trial because of health issues.
"Anna said as hard as it's been, she continues to do her best for Anthony ... Anthony talks about missing his daddy every single day. Every day he tells me he would like his daddy to come back.
"I will end with a concern Anthony come to me with in the last several days, he said that he was very worried at the daycare. He (said), "Mommy, I was worried that if you are in court with Kevin Gregson you will die too. A five-and-a-half year old should not be worried about their parent dying," she said.
There were few dry eyes in the courtroom.
Gregson will serve a life sentence with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.
He also has a lifetime ban on firearms. Having been found guilty of the carjacking, he'll serve a five-year concurrent sentence.
Asked if he wanted to say anything following the victim impact statements, finally Gregson chose silence over himself.
"No, your Honour."
And then, as had been every day for the past two weeks, his hands were shackled, and he exited the court.