CALGARY — Emotions boiled over in a Calgary courtroom after a young man was sentenced for manslaughter in the death of a pregnant Calgary woman.
Isaiah Rider, 20, was handed 15 years for killing Christa Cachene, 26, at a house party she was hosting in October 2015.
The Crown was looking for 18 years – half of which had to be served before he’d be eligible for parole – and when that didn’t happen, one of Cachene’s friends tried to get immediate revenge.
The man tried to attack Rider in the prisoner's box, only managing to throw a glass of water at the accused.
Rider tried to grapple with the man but a lone sheriff brandished a baton and was able to keep the two separated, ordering Rider to go into the back cells while telling the other man to get back.
The incident left the families of both Cachene and Rider shaken, as other sheriffs quickly descended around the courthouse and arrested the attacker.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all, but you know what, he is the only one that stood up for her and I’m grateful for him, for doing that, because that kind of helped me feel a little better about myself,” said Cachene's mother, Nancy. "He was so shocked.”
Rider's sentence also includes convictions for assault, a carjacking and a home invasion that happened during the manhunt for him.
Rider had a lengthy record as a youth at the time of the manslaughter, which happened after he got into an argument with Cachene.
Court was told that at the party, he and the pregnant woman began to trade punches and Cachene even stabbed him in his lower back and on his hand, but he eventually knocked her to the ground.
He then stomped on her chest and head, eventually throwing her body down some stairs and tried to clean up the bloody scene with bleach.
Her body was eventually found by her father, who called her unrecognizable after the beating.
Despite the brutality of the crime and his record, Justice Suzanne Bensler noted his youth, expressions of remorse, the guilty plea and a positive Gladue report, which considers an offender’s Aboriginal background.
Bensler pointed out he grew up around substance abuse and violence from a very young age, but Nancy Cachene didn’t buy it.
“I grew up a single mother, I went to the residential school, I do not go around killing people, hurting people, there’s no excuse,” she said, adding it was her daughter’s two children who will suffer the most.
Crown prosecutor Matthew Block said despite it not being the sentence he wanted, he does not anticipate an appeal.
As for the outburst, he called it disappointing.
“Emotions were obviously high, it’s obviously not the right way to go about it,” he said, adding he’d never been such an incident.
Defence lawyer Balfour Der credited the sheriff who was able to keep it from escalating.
“This is a highly volatile situation, she’s got all these people in close,” he said. “She did a fantastic job, deserves a raise.”
With time served, Rider will be able to apply for parole in four years and Der said despite the nature of the attack and his past, he’s confident he can turn his life around.
“The insight that my client had into what was wrong with his background,” he said. “He has some understanding of how he got there is a good precursor for him to build on.”