Man in prom night killing tells court the 'bad situation has been devastating' for him
Published Thursday, March 30, 2017 3:52PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:03PM EDT
Devontay Hackett stood in an Ottawa courtroom this morning, telling the family of murder victim Brandon Volpi that he was sorry.
But his apology came a little too late for the father of young man, stabbed to death the night of his high school prom in June of 2014.
Facing a minimum of ten years in jail, this was the first time Devontay Hackett had spoken in court and more importantly to the Volpi family, saying he was sorry for their loss but never admitting he had caused it.
It all came down to some shaky cellphone footage, clear enough a jury believed to sentence 21-year-old Devontay Hackett to second degree murder for killing 18-year-old Brandon Volpi on his prom night.
“It changed my life a lot,” Danny Volpi, Brandon’s father, told reporters outside court today, “I don't have a son anymore. I gotta live with that for the rest of my life.”
For the Volpi family, the murder and the months' long court case have drained any joy from their lives. Now, their focus is justice.
“Please consider us in making your decision,” Volpi's sister Kodey Carisse told court. “We will never be free of our feelings so why should Hackett roam free?"
Hackett had always maintained his innocence, even today in the prisoner box, apologizing to the Volpi family for their loss but never admitting he was the reason for it.
“It was a bad situation, devastating to myself as well,” he told court.
“A young man lost his life on prom night due to a tragic turn of events.”
Hackett now faces life in prison. The Crown is arguing there should be no chance of parole for at least 12 to 13 years.
“He was looking for a fight,” Crown Attorney Michael Boyce said, “He was ready for some kind of altercation.”
The Crown told court that Hackett had been found guilty of possession of a switch blade six months before he killed Volpi, despite the fact he had a weapons prohibition and that he had also been found guilty of assault causing bodily harm in February of 2014.
Hackett's lawyer, Joseph Addelman, however, called this a tragic coming together of two strangers in an alcohol fueled fight. Court evidence proved that Volpi had virtually no alcohol in his system the night of the murder, though Hackett was highly intoxicated.
Addelman added that the whole fight happened so quickly that Hackett probably didn't even understand what he had done. He added that Hackett had had a tough upbringing. His stepbrother had been stabbed to death in a fight. His older brother had been shot by police.
“All this tells you where Devontay came from,” Addelman said, “He did his best up until this night and committed a terrible crime.”
A crime that Hackett told court has been difficult for him, too. For Volpi’s father, though, his apology was too little too late.
“He should have thought of that two years ago,” Danny Volpi said.
Hackett will be sentenced Monday morning.