Man­slaugh­ter guilty pleas in killing of teenager

Ottawa Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - GARY DIMMOCK gdim­mock@post­media.com www.twit­ter.com/crimegar­den

Is­sa­iah Clachar, just 17, used to tell his mother he’d go far in life, and well be­yond his fam­ily apart­ment on Jas­mine Cres­cent.

But, in the end, he was killed just steps from his build­ing af­ter steal­ing a lousy bag of weed.

Clachar was knifed eight times — four to the chest, two to the back, one to his left fore­arm and an­other to his right thigh — hours af­ter he stole an­other man’s weed on Sept. 20, 2015. He jus­ti­fied the drug rob­bery to friends, say­ing teen dealer Keanu Croteau had short­changed him in the past and once sold him crummy weed.

It was Croteau’s girl­friend who de­liv­ered the weed — just over five ounces — to Clachar, with him re­fus­ing to pay and telling her to scram. “What­ever hap­pens, it’s on you,” she said as she left.

Croteau, then 18, and Mo­hamad Ha­made, then 25, pulled into Jas­mine Cres­cent in a black Acura, look­ing for a set­tling of ac­counts.

It was young Clachar who reached for his pel­let gun from inside his gold Nis­san be­fore the con­fronta­tion spi­ralled.

The Jas­mine Cres­cent killers took turns knif­ing Clachar to death be­fore run­ning off into the night, only to be caught by po­lice in the tall grass by High­way 174 and the Pineview Golf Course. They were both cov­ered in their vic­tim’s blood, and later charged with sec­ond de­gree mur­der.

On Thurs­day, two years later, the killers fi­nally took re­spon­si­bil­ity and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of man­slaugh­ter. The plea deal will spare the vic­tim’s fam­ily a trial and may af­ford the killers more le­nient sen­tences.

On­tario Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Kevin Phillips or­dered pre-sen­tence re­ports on Thurs­day while the killers sat statue-still in the pris­oner’s box.

Clachar’s fam­ily has de­scribed him as a soft-spo­ken, harm­less boy, but on the night he was stabbed to death, he was the one reach­ing for a pel­let gun, the one he used to shoot Ha­made be­tween the eyes. It was only a pel­let and he re­quired only one stitch, but that pel­let gun looked like a real gun, ac­cord­ing to an agreed state­ment of facts read in court on Thurs­day.

A po­lice search of the vic­tim’s Nis­san turned up three knives and a pair of brass knuck­les.

The vic­tim, un­like his killers, didn’t pull a knife in the fight out­side the Jas­mine Cres­cent apart­ment build­ing.

The young killers, for un­known rea­sons, aban­doned their car at the scene and ran only to be tracked down by a ca­nine po­lice of­fi­cer. The po­lice case against Croteau and Ha­made was steeped in DNA. The vic­tim’s blood was found through­out the killers’ car.

Be­fore Clachar got caught up in the drug rob­bery gone wrong, he played foot­ball and ran track in high school. Croteau didn’t have a crim­i­nal record un­til Thurs­day.

Croteau and Ha­made are ex­pected to be sen­tenced later this year.

Is­sa­iah Clachar

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