There is not a day that passes that Dionne Ward-Young doesn’t think about her mother.
There are certain days, special occasions, when she thinks of her mom, Ann Maria Lucas, a lot more as she wonders what it would be like for her to still be around.
Any chance of that was all taken from her when Ms. Lucas, an aboriginal woman at age 56, was killed in a violent attack by Robert Hilroy Legge on Sept. 21, 2003 in her Alabama Terrace apartment in Stephenville.
The gruesome court details outlined how Ms. Lucas was bashed in the head at least five times with a metal bar before she died.
Legge pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and now, less than 15 years later, Ward-Young fears her mother’s killer will soon be out of prison.
The national inquiry will be holding hearings with the families of Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women and Girls in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on March 7 and 8. Ward-Young will be one of those attending.
The mandate is to examine and report on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S people in Canada by looking at patterns and underlying factors.
The mandate also includes examining institutional practices and policies implemented in response to violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls, including examining police investigation practices and responses, as part of this public investigation.
When Ward-Young appears before the commissioner at the hearings she plans on discussing the impact this has had on family members. Her main concern, however, will deal with the length of sentencing time.
“I don’t feel the sentence is long enough, especially when this man is already out on day passes quite a bit,” she said. “I don’t feel there has been rehabilitation enough for a crime of this magnitude.”
Ward-Young said from her perspective she didn’t have any issues with the justice system in the way the case was handled, but just wishes the sentencing was more stringent.
“Sometimes I think about what would happen if he returned to this area,” she said. “I certainly wouldn’t want to bump into him anywhere.”
Odelle Pike said testimony from community members and families of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls will be one of the processes of identifying causes contributing to the disproportionate rates of violence experienced by Aboriginal women.
For families who want to know information on how they can appear at the hearings contact Pike at home 709-643-3200 or cell 709-721-0195.