(Gail Fawcett with her father in an undated photo.)
The family of a slain Aamjiwnaang First Nation woman say they fear her killer is identifying as Indigenous to get away with a lesser sentence.
Gail Fawcett’s relatives were shocked and angry to learn that a Gladue report is being written for Gino Langevin.
“We think it’s wrong, we feel like it’s another excuse for Gino to get away with this,” said Sheila Fawcett-Yendall, Gail’s sister, who’s also from the First Nation in Sarnia, Ont.
Fawcett and Langevin dated for about nine years before he stabbed her to death during a “cocaine-induced psychotic episode” outside their Ottawa home on July 21, 2015.
While initially facing first-degree murder, he pleaded guilty to a lesser manslaughter charge.
In all the years of attending family Sunday dinners and barbecues together, Fawcett-Yendall said Langevin never mentioned his Indigenous roots.
It wasn’t until his sentencing hearing on March 20, when the court heard a Gladue report was being prepared, that Fawcett-Yendall and her family learned he was Indigenous.
“This is the first time hearing this, he told us he was French,” she said.
A Gladue report is a pre-sentencing document detailing an Indigenous offender’s personal background.
If the offender grew up going to residential school or suffered any other socioeconomic injustice as a result of his or her upbringing, then a judge may consider those circumstances in a sentencing decision. A judge may then recommend restorative justice, such as a healing circle, over incarceration.
Every Indigenous offender has the right to a Gladue report, but it doesn’t guarantee they will walk out of court. That’s at the judge’s discretion.
Fawcett-Yendall said she still fears Langevin will get a lesser sentence.
“To me, it’s like he’s going to walk,” she said. “It’s going to be a slap on the wrist for what he did.”
She also didn’t realize until after her sister’s death that Langevin was struggling with drug issues.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Fawcett called 9-1-1 on July 21, 2015, around 1 p.m. to report her boyfriend was having a psychotic breakdown.
Langevin, who was 45 years old at the time, could be heard saying, “If you don’t come to my world I will shoot you,” as Fawcett whispered to the 9-1-1 dispatcher to “please hurry.”
Langevin went downstairs, at which point Fawcett told the dispatcher she feared his erratic behaviour. She said he was struggling with drug problems and had been trying to quit cocaine.
Soon after, Fawcett walked outside the couple’s house at 209 Anna Ave. and Langevin followed.
Upon hearing sirens in the distance, he ran back inside.
Derek Marriner, an Ottawa paramedic, arrived and saw Fawcett in the street, who he recognized from a call to the house the previous day. On July 20, 2015, Fawcett had called 9-1-1 – again for Langevin’s drug addiction problems.
That time, her boyfriend agreed to be sent to the hospital for a medical assessment, but he was released later that evening.
The next day, he wasn’t as compliant.
The court documents say shortly after Marriner arrived, Langevin came outside wielding a knife. He headed for the paramedic, who told Fawcett to run. Marriner then got into his emergency vehicle and locked the doors, sitting in the only available seat as the others were covered with equipment.
Fawcett started to run but turned around when she saw Langevin trying to get into the vehicle. She yelled at him to stop, at which point he ran after her, grabbed her and forced her to the ground. He repeatedly stabbed her with the knife and then proceeded to take off her shorts while she lay unresponsive. He then took off all his clothes and kissed her.
The paramedic turned on his sirens to try and stop the horrific scene, but it didn’t work. Marriner then drove his vehicle towards Langevin and struck him with the side mirror. Langevin stood up and Marriner instructed him to sit on the curb, kicking the knife out of reach.
Langevin stayed seated until police arrived and placed him under arrest for attempted murder.
Marriner tried saving the 54-year-old Fawcett, who laid unconscious on the street with a weak pulse, bleeding heavily.
She was sent to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 2:04 p.m. – almost an hour after she dialed for help.
Langevin admitted to stabbing his girlfriend, but would not say why. He said he had a “longstanding battle with cocaine use,” according to court documents.
“It is agreed that at the time he killed Gail Fawcett, Mr. Langevin was experiencing a cocaine-induced psychotic episode and as a result of this he did not have the required intent for murder,” reads the court transcript from Langevin’s hearing on Dec. 14, 2017.
While reading his victim impact statement in court March 20, Marriner said of all the calls he has responded to in his 17-year career, it’s that incident that has left him struggling with guilt and PTSD.
Despite this, Langevin is still only guilty of manslaughter, which baffles Fawcett-Yendall.
“He affected more lives than my sister’s. It was horrific what he did. And it was because he liked using cocaine,” she said, adding she hopes he undergoes treatment for his drug problems as part of his sentence.
“I don’t have faith in the system.”
The Gladue report was due April 24, but it has been postponed.
Langevin is next due in court June 15.
Unlike first degree and second-degree murder which carry a minimum sentence of 25-years, manslaughter does not carry a minimum sentence unless a firearm is involved.