Red Deer mother Amy Sorensen

Judge allows grieving mom to display ‘shrine’ to son in court

A grieving mom will be allowed to display her son’s ashes and other items in court during appearances of the people charged in connection with his death.

A grieving mom will be allowed to display her son’s ashes and other items in court during appearances of the people charged in connection with his death.

Trystan Sorensen, 18, was struck down by an SUV while longboarding on the highway immediately west of Penhold, where he lived. Innisfail RCMP allege that the offending vehicle was driven away and later reported stolen.

The vehicle’s alleged owner, Penhold resident Jessica Masyk, 25, was charged with multiple offences after turning herself in to police in Innisfail a few days later.

Two men were arrested for arson some time later after a burned-out vehicle, alleged to be Masyk’s SUV, was found in a farmer’s field east of Innisfail.

Trystan’s mother, Amy Sorensen, has been diligently attending court appearances for all three suspects, sitting in the front row of the gallery and setting a small collection of personal items on the pony wall that separates the gallery from the lawyers, the clerks and the judge.

The display includes a 118-page petition Sorensen has been circulating along with photos, a set of engraved and polished stones and an engraved metal box, shaped like a heart and containing Trystan’s ashes. The petition, containing an average of 20 signatures per page, seeks to toughen the sentences for people convicted of fleeing the scene after an injury or fatal collision.

Currently in custody on newer charges, Masyk appeared before Judge Bert Skinner in Red Deer provincial court on Friday, via closed-circuit TV from the Red Deer Remand Centre and represented by defence counsel Kaitlyn Perrin of Calgary.

Perrin requested that Skinner order the display taken down.

Crown prosecutor Brittany Ashmore supported Perrin’s request, saying she did not think the display was appropriate in a courtroom.

Sheriffs in the courtroom advised Skinner that they could see no security issues with the display.

Terming the display a shrine, Skinner stated that problems might arise if such actions became more common, but that he could see no reason for concern and would therefore allow it to remain.

Perrin asked that Masyk’s plea be reserved on charges arising from the May 20 incident, including leaving the scene of an injury collision and making a false statement to police. Masyk has been held in custody since Aug. 17, when she was arrested on new charges arising from an incident involving Red Deer City RCMP.

She returns to court on Nov. 14.

Steve Lagace, 29, was sentenced on Oct. 10 to 26 months in prison after pleading guilty to arson as well as other charges arising from a separate incident.

Logan Graham, also charged with arson, is to enter his plea on Tuesday.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

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