Victim addresses dangerous offender hearing
CALGARY — A convicted torturer smirked and shook his head in the prisoner’s box Wednesday as the former roommate he starved, maimed and defiled told a judge he’s been forever changed by the attacks he endured.
The roommate, who was dropped off near death at a Regina hospital in 2010, addressed the court at Dustin Paxton’s dangerous offender sentencing hearing Wednesday.
The man told court he has post-traumatic stress disorder and brain damage from the 18 months he was humiliated, starved, beaten and sexually assaulted on an almost-daily basis while living with Paxton in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“There is a big question mark hanging over my head 24-7,” said the man, who can’t be named under a court order. “I have to live in a perpetual state of confusion and fear. I want to make sure nobody else ever has to suffer like me.”
Speaking slowly from the witness stand with his two sisters at his side for support, the victim detailed how he has had several surgeries aimed at reconstructing his face. He said there are many more operations in his future.
“Before the assaults, I was extremely good looking and very attractive to women and now I am disfigured,” he said. “I have an incurable traumatic brain injury because of the assaults, which I will have for the rest of my life.”
He said he has trouble sleeping, suffers anxiety and is unable to hold a job.
He also said he has trouble with his balance, can’t swallow properly and has to drink through a straw.
Alberta Court of Queen’s Justice Sheilah Martin said she would require four or five weeks to come to her conclusion. A date for her ruling is to be set Oct. 31. Paxton addressed the court Wednesday, but offered no apology.
“I’m working with these experts who are working to make me a better person,” he said. “I will remain fully committed to a regime of counselling and programming that is essential to my rehabilitation.”
He lost of some of his lip during the prolonged ordeal, had his ribs broken and sustained a ruptured bowel.
Paxton’s trial heard how the smallest things would provoke an attack, such as leftovers in the fridge. The victim testified that he took the abuse because he didn’t want to look like “a sissy” and had dreams of making big money in the business he and Paxton had started.
But his experience left him a shell of his former self.
“The psychologists told me I turned off my emotions to protect myself, so now it is hard for me to feel emotion,” he told court.
“I do know I feel very ashamed and disgusted, and when I think about the sexual assaults, I feel grossed out and nauseous.”
Paxton, 33, was found guilty in February 2012 of aggravated and sexual assault.
The Crown is contending that “sex acts were used as weapons” by Paxton. Prosecutors have pointed to a number of reports that all came to the same conclusion — Paxton is difficult to treat and a high risk to reoffend.
The Crown wants Paxton kept in prison for an indeterminate period of time as a dangerous offender. But it has also submitted that if the judge wants to fix a set sentence, it should be in the 15- to 18-year range with 2-for-1 credit for his time already in custody.
Paxton’s lawyer has recommended a six- to eight-year sentence — minus six years of credit Paxton would receive for time already served.
If the judge rejects the dangerous offender designation, Paxton could be designated a long-term offender with a set prison sentence followed by 10 years of supervision under strict conditions.