(Gail Fawcett, who was stabbed to death July 21, 2015, is pictured here with her father Wallace.)
Sheila Fawcett-Yendall was driving to Ottawa when news came on the radio that a 54-year-old woman had been stabbed to death.
She didn’t know it was her sister, Gail Fawcett.
And she wouldn’t suspect Gail’s longtime partner, Gino Langevin, would be in the prisoner’s box after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the brutal killing of the mother from Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, Ont.
But that’s where Langevin was on Tuesday morning, with his head down and dabbing his face with tissues, as he listened to victim impact statements from Gail’s loved ones.
“I miss my sister so very much and call out for her to visit me while I’m sleeping,” reads Sheila’s statement, which was read aloud during Langevin’s sentencing hearing.
“This just wasn’t fair for her to be taken so soon and in a violent way by someone who loved her.”
Langevin was high on cocaine July 21, 2015 when he chased after Gail with a knife outside their Anna Avenue home. The court heard how Gail had previously tried getting help for her lover.
“I raised my eight children in a drug and alcohol free home,” said the statement of Wallace Fawcett, Gail’s father. “How did this come to happen that she be taken by the same things I fought so hard for my child not to have to endure, only to come back to her in this way.”
Wallace said he struggles with constant headaches, a loss of appetite and depression. The aimless drives down back country roads can’t shake his heavy thoughts.
“There is no sentence long enough to be given. (Gino) is still living and breathing, my daughter Gail is not,” he said.
Gail was described as a loving mother, aunt and daughter whose laughter could fill a room at family gatherings.
“I’ve lost family and friends but never have I ever imagined having to try to understand why this horrific event even took place,” said Tiauni Gray, Gail’s niece. “She was a beautiful person inside and out.”
Derek Marriner, a paramedic who responded to Gail’s call that day in July 2015, described how Langevin also tried attacking him with a knife. Of all the calls Marriner has responded to, it’s that incident that has left him struggling with depression, guilt and PTSD.
One of Gail’s three sons, Arnold, was apprehended into child care when he was young. Gail didn’t have a chance to reunite with him and meet his six children, the grandchildren she always wanted.
But almost five months after the murder, Sheila was attending a First Nations winter gathering in Ottawa when she saw a familiar face in the crowd. A young man looked just like Gail’s other son, Jeremiah.
“I thought to myself, is this Arnold, what joy I felt thinking this was him,” she said. She walked over and asked him his name and if he had been adopted from Sarnia, Ont.
“The look on his face changed as if he had seen a ghost,” reads Sheila’s statement. “I knew right there, this was my sister Gail’s lost child that we searched for, for so many years… I knew she was here and that she had guided me to him.”
Langevin is next due in court on April 24.
The court is also expecting a Gladue report, a pre-sentencing document that considers the personal histories of Indigenous offenders, ahead of Langevin’s sentencing.