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Crown seeks 18-year sentence in fatal Sudbury arson case

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The second man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection to the fatal 2021 townhouse fire that killed three people in Sudbury's Flour Mill area will have to wait a little longer to receive his sentence.

Jamie-Lynn Lori-Lee Rose, Jasmine Marie-Claire Somers and Guy Armand Henri died as a result of the deadly fire in the early morning of April 11, 2021, at Ryan Heights on Bruce Avenue. A fourth person was able to escape the home by jumping out of a window.

Jared Herrick and accomplice Philippe Jeannotte were both originally charged with three counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, arson and conspiracy to commit murder alongside two others – Liam Stinson and Fernand Bolduc.

In jail since their April 2021 arrest, both Herrick and Jeannotte pleaded guilty last December to three counts of the lesser charge of manslaughter and one count of arson causing bodily harm.

SENTENCING

Herrick's sentencing hearing began earlier this week, with the victim's families delivering impact statements on the devastating loss of their loved ones, and continued Friday.

During the hearing, the accused sat next to his attorney at the defence table rather than in the prisoner's box wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt and black vest.

Defence lawyer Len Walker argued on Wednesday Herrick should receive a 13-year sentence for his role in the fatal fire.

In addition to the Duncan credit of 1.5 days for each day served in pre-sentence custody, Walker asked for 55 days of enhanced credit for lockdowns due to COVID-19 and jail short staffing.

In his closing argument Friday, Crown attorney David Kirk initially asked the judge to consider a 20-year sentence less time served, a lifetime weapons ban, non-communication order and for the accused to submit DNA to the national data bank.

After a discussion with Walker and a one-hour recess, Kirk revised the Crown's ask to an 18-year sentence due to previous discussions with the defence.

 "I'm here to take responsibility for my role in the arson that took the lives of Jamie-Lynn Rose, Jasmine Somers, Guy Henri," Herrick said during his address to the court Friday afternoon.

"I'd like to shift my attention first to their family and friends by deeply apologizing for my choices and actions. There are no words to genuinely express my sorrow for the agonizing grief and heartache we have caused. If I could trade my life for them, I would. This is a violent and despicable crime that should not have happened in the first place. I want you to know that I'm doing 'double time' because I am haunted with guilt by visions and dreams of what must have been their horrific final moments."

He went on to explain his experience with fentanyl addiction that led him to be involved in the horrific fire and said he feels like a totally different person after spending the last two and half years behind bars.

"All I can think to do is to take the time that I get and turn it into a transitional period. I am not focused on a release date, only the opportunities that lie ahead and in my own personal goals," Herrick said.

"The price of liberty for me is eternal vigilance. I owe that to Guy, Jamie and Jasmine. They will forever be my inspiration to change my life and perhaps one day I can offer guidance to someone as lost as I was."

After Herrick's address, Justice Patrick Boucher said he needed more time and reserved his final sentencing decision.

Scheduling for the judge's decision is expected to be completed by the Aug. 1 assignment court hearing.

CTVNewsNorthernOntario.ca will continue to follow the story and provide updates.

OTHER SUSPECTS IN THE CASE

In March, Jeannotte was sentenced to 16 years in prison – receiving 13 years for each death to be served concurrently – and ordered to pay the City of Greater Sudbury $250,000 in restitution for damage to the geared-to-income units damaged by the fire. He received three years of credit for pre-sentencing custody, including 125 days of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charges against Fernand Bolduc were stayed Sept. 15, 2022, and will be held for a year to give the Crown time to get more evidence, a Sudbury court clerk told CTV News on the phone in March.

Also, last fall, a fifth man -- Riley Roy -- pleaded guilty to attempting to obstruct police in the case after originally being charged with conspiracy to commit a break-and-enter.

A publication ban on details of what happened the night of the fire is in place until the trial of the final suspect in the case, Liam Stinson, who is expected to go on trial next year.

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