Daughter, niece of Guelph woman killed by son speaking out
GUELPH -- Warning: Some of the details in this story may be disturbing
The daughter and niece of a Guelph woman killed by her son are speaking out, saying they feel she's being blamed for her own death.
On Monday, Larry Kemp pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Patsy Lewis in September 2014.
An agreed statement of facts read in court said Lewis and Kemp had a "mutually abusive relationship."
"They had been violent with each other in the past and at the time of her death, she expressed concerns to relatives that he would hurt her," the statement read in part.
The statement also said Kemp feared his mother, and the fear had worsened in the time leading into his death.
"I'm very disappointed he's allowed to say these things about my mother and we're about to believe it as facts," Lewis' daughter Julie Indovina said. "She was absolutely terrified of him, but as a mother at the same time, she didn't want to see him cold or on the street."
According to the agreed statement of facts, sometime between Sept. 26 and 30, 2014, Lewis and Kemp were drinking and were intoxicated to some degree. An argument over Kemp’s living arrangements at the house broke out, and Lewis came at him brandishing a knife.
Kemp, fearing injury or death, kicked the knife out of her hand, the statement goes on to say. Kemp wrestled Lewis to the floor and struck her in the head numerous times, and she lost consciousness. He then grabbed the knife, stabbed his mother in the neck, and slit her throat.
Lewis’s head was nearly severed from her body, court heard.
Kemp left his mother to die, the statement says. He blocked the entrances to the kitchen so her two dogs could not get in, and put bleach on the knife. He removed his outer layer of clothing, put it in a garbage bag and threw it away in a nearby dumpster.
"It said it was a fact and, of course, no one was there," Lewis' niece Connie Marangwanda said. "It was only the two of them there."
"She was being blamed for her own death and that was absolutely disgusting," Indovina said.
Tom Meehan, an assistant Crown attorney in Wellington County, said the description in the agreed statement of facts represents what Kemp would have testified to if the case had gone to trial. The details around the killing are what the Crown would have presented.
"Everything we've read and heard about Ms. Lewis was that she was a kind person," Meehan said.
Meehan added the manslaughter plea indicates Kemp is taking responsibility for the death.
"He didn't need to do what he did to defend himself, that's the bottom line," Meehan said. "On the other hand, a combination of other factors, including his alcohol consumption and his chronic mental health issues, pointed to the very strong possibility that he would not be found guilty of murder."
The agreed statement of facts says Kent had a history of bipolar disease (paranoid subtype) and was off his medication at the time of the offense. Later, he was also diagnosed as having schitzophrenia.
Lewis' ex-spouse, Kemp's father, told police Kemp hadn't taken his medication in about 10 months, the statement said.
"While the killing was unlawful, he lacked the intent requirement to make the unlawful killing murder," the statement said.
"It is agreed that the accused was unable to form the specific intent to cause the death of Patsy Lewis due to mental illness at the time of the offence."
Kemp was sentenced to 10 years, and will receive credit for time already spent in custody. He is expected to serve just under seven years.
"He does have serious mental health issues," Indovina said. "The police are highly to blame for this matter. They knew this was going to happen, it was so predictable."
The statement said Kemp was "otherwise homeless," but allowed sleep on the couch at Lewis' home.
Indovina and Marangwanda said there were warning signs and calls to Guelph police, which is also documented in the agreed statement of facts. In one instance, police were called to the home after Kemp punched his mother in the face.
"My words to the sergeant were, if you don't do something, he will kill her," Marangwanda said. "That was in 2012 and, almost two years to the date, he did kill her."
Guelph police said they can't comment, since a formal complaint or investigation haven't taken place.
"The Guelph Police Service is dedicated to ensuring the safety of all who live, work and play in our community," a statement from Guelph police said in part. "We always strive to provide policing that is effective, and we believe in service with compassion and accountability."
Officials said complaints can be filed online.
Indovina and Marangwanda are remembering Lewis in better times.
"Very intelligent, very loving, extremely funny," Marangwanda said.
"The happiest, most fun-loving person you'd ever meet," Indovina said. "She loved to laugh, dance and sing."