Regina man gets 13 years in prison for meth-fuelled killing

Justin Christopher Ford will spend the next 12 years in prison after a meth-fuelled robbery turned into a killing.

Ford pleaded guilty to manslaughter for shooting Samson Goodwill-Severight in the chest while trying to steal more drugs on April 5, 2018. He was initially charged with second-degree murder.

“(Twelve) years is not enough for taking a life,” wrote his mother Virginia Goodwill in a victim impact statement.

She said her family is devastated and can never forget the loss. Goodwill wrote that she and her four daughters still ask why their son and brother — who was 21 when killed — was taken from them. 

“They loved him so much. They’re still mourning.” 

Justice Lana Krogan accepted the joint sentencing submission of 13 years and 11 months for Ford’s role in the botched robbery on Wednesday at Regina’s Court of Queen’s Bench. Ford received credit for time already spent remanded to custody.  

I lost it. I cried and cried and cried for months– Margaret Goodwill, sister of victim

A drug robbery gone wrong

On the day of the shooting, Ragan Marlee Lavallee bought meth from Goodwill-Severight at his home on the 1100 block of King Street, according to an agreed statement of facts.

Court heard Goodwill-Severight was generous and gave her a “heavy amount of drugs” for $100.

Lavallee, who was 18 at the time, went home and got high with Ford and another man. They were using “a fair amount” of the meth when the conversation turned to robbery.

Both have blamed one another for hatching the initial robbery plot. Ford armed himself with a .22-calibre rifle and they went to Goodwill-Severight’s home around 8 p.m.

They went in through the unlocked back door and confronted Goodwill-Severight in his bedroom. Ford demanded the drugs and then squeezed the trigger as Goodwill-Severight stepped toward him. 

Court heard that Goodwill-Severight collapsed and died not long after as witnesses fled — excited by meth and the shooting. 

Ford was arrested three days after the shooting, after Lavallee contacted the police. She later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to five years.

The gun has never been recovered.

Sister says world isn’t the same

“He was only 21 my brother had a dream he was just starting to see the world,” wrote Goodwill-Severight’s youngest sister Margaret Goodwill in a victim impact statement. “He didn’t get the life story he wanted.”

Margaret Goodwill wrote that she is still numb from the pain of losing him and described the moments she learned that her brother was dead.

“I lost it. I cried and cried and cried for months,” she said. “This world aint the same without my brother.” 

Margaret Goodwill wrote that she can find it in herself to forgive the two who pleaded guilty in her brother’s death but first she needed to know they would have justice. 

Ford’s meth use ‘out of control’

Defence lawyer Doug Andrews described the 23-year-old Ford as a young man who’s drug problem spiralled “out of control.” 

Court heard Ford’s recreational cocaine use morphed into a crystal meth problem around 2015-16.  Andrews said Ford was in no shape to be handling a gun the night Goodwill-Severight was killed. 

“He had no intention of shooting … but that’s what happens when you play with fire,” the lawyer said.

He described Ford as a remorseful young man with no prior criminal record. Andrews said Ford has since undergone programming, remained sober and stayed away from gang activity while in custody. 

Krogan addressed Ford in the prisoner’s box and told him that society does not give up on those sentenced to prison. 

“You can make choices to return to the positive path that you were once on,” the judge said.