Gas-and-dash killer given 11 years

Winnipeg Free Press - - NEWS - BILL GRAV­E­LAND

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.

EH­SAN HOS­SEINI / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

Ah­mad Nourani Shallo holds his son, Koorosh. Shallo died in a crash ear­lier this year. The boy sur­vived the crash.

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