A Kitimat woman murdered in her home in 2011 was described as a nurturing mother and a soulmate in a statement read by her husband in supreme court here last week.
Speaking in an emotional voice, Gualter Rego said his wife, Maria Rego, was a respectful daughter, kind aunt, niece, cousin, co-worker, mentor, cherished friend and proud grandmother.
“We were excited for what the future had in store,” he said.
“Our future plans, dreams and hopes came to an abrupt end when Mr. Eli broke into our home in October 2011 and he viciously attacked us as we slept defenselessly in our bed.”
Rego’s Jan. 29 statement was a key portion of a two-day sentencing hearing for Tyler Scott Eli who was 19 when he was arrested for Maria Rego’s death shortly after the Regos were attacked around 7 a.m. Oct. 9, 2011 in their Whitesail residence.
Eli had been found guilty of second degree murder and other offences last November by Mr. Justice Robert Punnett following a trial which took place in Terrace court last year.
“He mercilessly took the life of my wife and left me near death with the reality of waking up to a nightmare that forever changed my life and the life of others,” Rego said, adding that Eli’s actions were “incomprehensible, inexcusable and senseless.”
“Since that day, I must live with the images in my memory of a nightmare that no one can ever wake up [from] and forget as one lives his day,” he said.
“I pray he’s held accountable for the horrific crime he committed and pray God is able to enter his heart so he can acknowledge the extent of his actions,” continued Rego who was also injured in the attack.
On Jan. 30, defence lawyer Donna Turko said Eli would like to apologize to the court.
He went to the witness stand after Punnett suggested he would be better heard with the microphone.
After standing for a bit, Eli sat down to continue, speaking softly, sometimes to the point he couldn’t be heard, and pausing several times.
“First, I’d like to apologize to (the Regos). I’d like to apologize to the family who lost a loved one, to my own family for having to watch a son go through the court system.
“I’d like to apologize to the court, society … I just truly am sorry to everyone,” he said.
“Now there’s nothing that can truly repay what was lost,” he continued. “If there’s any other way I can ever right this wrong, I promise to try and work on that.”
Crown lawyers Claire Ducluzeau and Rita Kis gave their sentence submission of concurrent life sentences for all three charges for which Eli had been found guilty.
Life in jail was the maximum allowed sentence for second-degree murder, leaving the question of how much time there should be until he is eligible for parole, which they suggested should be 15 years.
The minimum period of ineligibility is 10 years and the maximum is 25 years for second degree murder, court heard.
Mr. Justice Punnett indicated he would reserve sentencing to another day, sending the file to the judicial case manager to set the next date.
Eli, was initially charged with second degree murder, aggravated assault and break and enter into a dwelling house to commit an indictable offence. A charge of attempted murder was later added.
Eli was found guilty of second degree murder, attempted murder and the break and enter. The charge of aggravated assault was stayed by the court.
Both the Regos were taken to hospital in Kitimat where Maria Rego died from her injuries and Gualter Rego had surgery.
Rego has since moved to Terrace but said he is reminded of what he has lost daily when he drives to work in Kitimat.
“I’m grateful to God and all the support of family, friends, the medical team and community. Without them, I would not be standing in front of you,” he said in his statement.
The defence’s argument was that Eli was in a delirium caused by alcohol or drug consumption but all the evidence shows he was not in a delirium, said Punnett in his decision.