HALIFAX – “There’s no justice in this world,” Charlotte Penney said as she left a Halifax courtroom Thursday afternoon following the sentencing of two men connected to her nephew’s death.
Mathew Penney, 26, was shot and killed at a New Years party in Dartmouth on January 1, 2014 by two of his closet friends.
His body was taken from the home where he was shot and discarded at Oakfield Provincial Park, near Enfield, and set on fire.
His remains were later found by a man who lived in the area and was walking his dog.
Tyler Berry pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death in connection with Penney’s killing, possessing a firearm while prohibited and improper interference with human remains.
A Nova Scotia Supreme Courtroom heard that Berry accidentally shot and killed his friend while he was using a computer at the party, and instead of calling police, he and a friend tried to hide the killing.
Jason MacKenzie pleaded guilty to a charge of accessory after the fact and improper interference with human remains. The court heard MacKenzie helped Berry transport Penney’s body to the park and burn it.
Justice Gerald Moir sentenced Berry to eight years for the shooting, less time served, for which he was given two and a half years credit for.
MacKenzie was sentenced to three years, less time served, meaning he will serve another six months behind bars.
The courtroom was packed with family and friends of Mathew Penney, who had been waiting patiently to hear the sentencing. Some people started to cry when the sentence was read out loud, while others got up and left the courtroom altogether.
“My baby sister was murdered and we never ever found out who killed her, and now this, I have no faith in the justice system whatsoever,” said Charlotte Penney, Mathew Penney’s aunt.
In rendering his sentencing, Justice Moir said the pair were remorseful, something that didn’t sit well with onlookers.
“They didn’t feel remorse. No. Not at all. You could just tell by the looks on their face,” said Jean Saulnier, a long time family friend of Penney’s. “They did it. They did it. They knew what they were doing. That’s it.”
“From our perspective, Tyler is extremely remorseful and that’s been, despite what he did after the fact, he’s always been very remorseful and I think the judge took that into consideration and I think legally, the sentence that was handed down was fair,” said Peter Planetta, Tyler Berry’s defence lawyer.
“One of the things that we can’t do is bring back Mathew Penney, their family member, and I don’t think anything short of that would do anything to make them feel any better so we understand,” said Janine Kidd, one of the Crown attorney’s on the case.
Many family members had previously expressed concern that Berry was only charged with criminal negligence causing death and not murder.
“The big issue between murder and criminal negligence causing death is that there was no intent to kill. There was never any evidence that there was any intent to kill in this case. That’s why the police laid the charge of criminal negligence causing death,” said Eric Taylor, Crown attorney.
The Crown says they have not made a decision on whether or not to appeal the sentence at this time.