Decapitated, dismembered: Anger flares over plea deal
Anger has boiled over in a northern Ontario city following a plea deal that will allow three men who decapitated and dismembered a friend at a wild drug-fuelled house party to walk free within two years.
Ronald Mitchell, Dylan Jocko and Eric Mearow pleaded guilty in Sault Ste. Marie this week to manslaughter and offering an indignity to a human body despite the police chief’s insistence that his force brought forward a comprehensive case that culminated in first-degree murder charges.
A crowd of about 100 protesters gathered outside the Sault courthouse on Thursday following the court hearing. The victim’s tearful mother and police Chief Robert Keetch were among those outraged by the developments.
“The results of this case in no way reflect the work done by police,” Keetch told media as he tried to assure the city his force had no part in the deal in the death of Wesley Hallam, who was stabbed to death on Jan. 7, 2011 before being decapitated and dismembered.
Keetch called on the Ministry of the Attorney General for an independent third-party review of the case.
“I struggle to make sense of the Crown’s decision to accept a plea deal,” said Hallam’s mother, Sandra Hallam.
She added: “I am horrified that these three men will walk back into our community some time soon. I think the city of Sault Ste. Marie should be afraid.”
Court heard the party began at Mearow’s “flop house” after 5 p.m. that Friday.
It was a house used by many to buy and consume drugs. On the menu: alcohol, weed, powder and crack cocaine, heroin, OxyContin and Fentanyl.
Mearow, Mitchell and their girlfriends decided to stay in that night and invited others over. The party ballooned. Jocko arrived shortly after 9:30 p.m.; he’d smoked crack and was in search of more.
Hallam, who would not live to see the morning, was at a friend’s house when he got word of the party. He borrowed his friend’s knife, engraved with a swastika, and showed up at the house party around 11:30 p.m.
Before long, a frenzied, fullfledged knife fight broke out.
Mitchell swung at Hallam at one point, stabbing him in the side of the neck. He was soon bleeding out and collapsed.
Mearow ordered Mitchell and Jocko to help move Hallam to the bathroom.
Mearow took control, court heard, and ordered the other two men to begin dismembering Hallam. When knives proved ineffective, the men turned to an electric saw. The party raged on, the sounds of the saw audible above the din.
They disposed of the body parts in various locations, including in a creek and a garbage dump across the border in Michigan.