Convicted killer Jason Steadman will spend at least the next quarter century behind bars.
On Friday morning, an Edmonton judge sentenced Steadman to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for the first-degree murder of Dwayne Demkiw.
“We’re relieved because it’s over now,” said the victim’s father, Eugene Demkiw.
“Now we can carry on and do the second chapter of Dwayne.”
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In May 2015, Demkiw finished a shift as a limo driver. He was never seen again. His car was set on fire and left in a Calgary parkade. Investigators found Demkiw’s blood inside covering the inside of the vehicle.
A year later, Demkiw’s remains were found scattered in a field near Innisfail.
On Thursday, a jury found Steadman guilty of first-degree murder.
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Crown Prosecutor Chantelle Washenfelder said it has been a long road to get here. The Steadman investigation involved five police services in Alberta, B.C. and the United States. Ninety-two witnesses testified.
“It’s an extremely challenging investigation,” said Washenfelder.
“Really we have to stop and give credit to the excellent work of the Edmonton Police Service.”
Steadman’s conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. Before the sentence was delivered, Demkiw’s family read victim impact statements to the court.
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The victim’s mother, Angeline Demkiw, stood across from Steadman holding up a baby picture of her son while the Crown prosecutor read her statement.
Dwayne Demkiw’s family hold up pictures of him outside court Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Global News
Dwayne Demkiw’s family hold up pictures of him outside court Friday, Feb. 22, 2019.
Demkiw’s father held up the last picture he ever took of Dwayne while he read his statement. He told court “there was always four of us. Now we have a hole. The family tree has been broken forever.”
Outside court, the family said it has been difficult to move on.
The court case has been complex. Steadman has been in custody awaiting trial for nearly three years. The Demkiws have been at each of the many court appearances and in that time, the family hasn’t been able to hold a memorial service for Dwayne.
Once they received his remains from the medical examiner, they knew there would be a trial. The Demkiws were told not to have any contact with any potential witnesses. That meant they couldn’t talk to many of Dwayne’s friends and they weren’t willing to say goodbye without friends.
Now that the case has concluded, the Demkiws can’t wait to hold a formal farewell.
“It’s just hard,” said Angeline Demkiw. “All his friends, we couldn’t have contact with [them]. Those were his friends and that’s just so hard. It just left us by ourselves.”
Watch below: The parents of Dwayne Demkiw said it was a relief when Jason Steadman was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of their son Dwayne Demkiw. Sarah Kraus reports.
That years’ long period of loneliness has weighed heavily on the family. Angeline said she now suffers from PTSD. Travelling to court appearances has been costly — both financially and emotionally.
“You have nothing. There’s no support. No financial support. Nothing. It drains you of everything you’ve got,” Angeline said.
As the Demkiws left court for the last time, they acknowledged there are unanswered questions.
“We are lucky to be here today. There are a lot of families out there that don’t get the same opportunity,” said Dwayne Demkiw’s brother, Darren.
Steadman was known as Robert Aubrey Maxwell when he killed Demkiw. Steadman fled the United States after a warrant was issued for his arrest in 2012. Around the same time, Robert Aubrey Maxwell disappeared from the streets of Vancouver.
Steadman used a piece of Maxwell’s identification to get new photo ID and he started a new life under Maxwell’s name.
Maxwell still hasn’t been found and the Demkiws say they’re thinking about his family.
“I do feel for his family, that he wasn’t seen or heard from again. Whatever the circumstances are, I hope [the courts] can bring that family some closure as well,” said Darren Demkiw.
In addition to the life sentence for first-degree murder, Steadman was also sentenced to three years in prison for arson. He will serve that sentence at the same time as his murder sentence.