Manslaughter guilty pleas in killing of teenager
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.