The parents of a teenager murdered over marijuana say if pot was legal at the time, their son might be alive. An Ottawa judge sentenced 26-year-old Sam Tsega today to 9 years in jail for his role in the murder of Michael Swan. Michael Swan was killed 6 years ago during a home invasion and drug robbery in his Barrhaven home. Today his parents said their son died for nothing.
It has been a long and difficult seven years for Dale and Rea Swan; today's sentence brings them little comfort.
“It doesn't matter how many years he got,” says Rea Swan, “it won't bring my son back. Every day I have to wake up knowing I’m never going to see him again.”
Rea Swan last saw her son the day before he was murdered in his Barrhaven home. The 19-year-old was shot to death when three armed men broke into his home to rob him. Those 3 men from Toronto were convicted of murder. The man who orchestrated the drug robbery, Sam Tsega, was sentenced today to 9 years for manslaughter. He wasn’t in Swan’s home at the time of the murder.
“At the end of the day Michael swan enjoyed smoking marijuana,” says Swan’s father Dale.
The Swans say their son was painted as a drug dealer, when all he wanted was to make a little money doing what he liked best: smoking pot.
“Like thousands of other people,” says Rea, “It doesn't make it right, but in another year this will become legal and my son would have died for nothing.”
“That's the irony of this,” adds Dale Swan, “is that he died for something that soon will be legal in this country and there will be no motivation to do drug rips of this type.”
Sam Tsega's mother wouldn't comment today but his lawyer said he was pleased the judge agreed that Tsega wasn’t as culpable as the other 3 involved in the murder.
“Mr. Tsega is an excellent candidate for rehabilitation,” Mark Ertel said outside court today, “and he demonstrated it for five years on bail, attending university and doing volunteer work.”
Tsega will be credited for time he's already spent in jail. He will serve seven years and seven months.