Gas-and-dash killer given 11 years
CALGARY — A man who ran over and killed a gas-station worker trying to stop him from stealing fuel has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Joshua Cody Mitchell, 22, was convicted by a jury earlier this year of manslaughter, hit and run and theft.
“There was no intent to kill here,” Justice Alan Macleod said in his sentencing decision Wednesday. “There was no intent to seriously injure, but the risks were patently obvious.”
Macleod also handed Mitchell a lifetime driving ban.
Maryam Rashidi, who was 35, died two years ago when Mitchell ran over her as he took off without paying for $113 of fuel.
She and her husband had come to Canada from Iran in 2014 because she wanted a better life for their son. She had been working at the Centex gas station for just two weeks after being laid off from her engineering job during Calgary’s economic downturn.
Mitchell’s sentence consists of 10 years for manslaughter and an additional year for hit and run. The judge gave him almost 3 ½ years of credit for time served.
“I’d like to apologize to the family and friends of Ms. Rashidi for the... pain and suffering I have caused their family,” Mitchell said in a statement to the court before he was sentenced.
“If I could take back what I’ve done, I would and if I had the chance to replace Ms. Rashidi I would.”
Earlier Wednesday, Rashidi’s brother said he’s haunted by thoughts of his sister’s final moments when she was lying on the ground “like a rag doll.”
“I did not live any single day without thinking and experiencing flashbacks of what scenarios happened to my sister in that crime incident,” Mohamad Rashidi wrote in a victim impact statement read in court as his mother wept quietly.
“I don’t know what you may feel when you read that your loved one’s been run over by a vehicle and left on the ground look(ing) like a rag doll. “It set fire on Maryam’s mother’s heart.”
The victim’s brother and her mother, Kobra Mohammadi, flew to Calgary from Iran to attend Mitchell’s sentencing hearing.
“The crime committed against my sister... has hurt me and my family in so many ways that I don’t know where to begin,” Rashidi wrote.
“Maryam was a genius girl who studied chemical engineering in the most top-rated university of Iran. She was so kind and did not hurt even a tiny creature during her life.
“Now she is far, far away from us.”
Another statement was written by the victim’s husband before he died in a traffic accident in June.
“Some things that you lose you recover over time. Other losses are immeasurable and can never be retrieved. For instance, the loss of innocence of a child whose mother was taken from him,” Ahmad Nourani Shallo wrote before his death.
“How could anyone replace that absence? How could I replace that role?”
Rashidi and Shallo had one son, who survived the crash that killed his father.
Shallo wrote that the reaction of Rashidi’s family to her death was heartbreaking.
“What would be your answer when you are asked by your deceased wife’s family why did you let her work in a gas station? I don’t know how you could answer that question... I couldn’t,” he said. “I was silent on the phone knowing the family of my wife believe that I am responsible.”
Mitchell was originally charged with seconddegree murder.
The trial heard that Rashidi chased the truck across a parking lot and onto the busy Trans-Canada Highway where the vehicle got stuck in traffic. She banged on the passenger window, stood in front of the truck with her hands up and then scrambled onto the hood.
She was run over after the truck swerved and she fell off.
Ahmad Nourani Shallo holds his son, Koorosh. Shallo died in a crash earlier this year. The boy survived the crash.