Father guilty of manslaughter in death of toddler found outside Edmonton church

EDMONTON — Dalyce Raine stood outside an Edmonton courthouse Friday in the bitter cold, unable to speak. She wiped away tears under her sunglasses.

She had just heard that Joey Crier, her son’s father, was convicted of manslaughter in the toddler’s death.

Anthony Joseph Raine, who was 19-months old, was found dead outside the city’s Good Shepherd Anglican Church in 2017.

“It was murder, in my opinion,” Luci Johnson, a court advocate who sat through the trial with the boy’s family, said outside court while standing next to Raine.

“They were high on drugs. What they did to that little guy … it’s not right.”

Crier and his then-girlfriend Tasha-Lee Doreen Mack were each charged with second-degree murder in the death.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice David Labrenz found Crier guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter because he said the Crown wasn’t able to prove who committed the fatal assault.

The court heard Crier won’t be sentenced until after a charter challenge over the time the man spent in custody and a Gladue report is completed. The pre-sentence report can be requested when an offender is of Indigenous background.

“What’s the purpose of justice if you can’t get justice?” Johnson said. “How many weeks and months and years are going to go by before there is accountability for Anthony?

“When they talk about justice being swift, where’s the swiftness? His mom is missing another Christmas. It’s going to be another Easter. It’s going to be another birthday that she’s going to miss with her little warrior.”

Mack was also found guilty of manslaughter in a separate trial, but the Crown is appealing that verdict and asking for a new trial. She has not yet been sentenced.

Video entered into evidence in court showed Crier and Mack pushing a stroller around the church three days before the boy’s body was found propped up against an outer wall of the church.

A passerby noticed the boy and ran into the church distraught and crying. Women in the church who ran outside to help testified about finding Anthony covered in a blue patchwork quilt. They weren’t able to find a pulse.

The women saw bruising on his face and saw blood coming out of his ear.

Following an extensive investigation, police arrested Crier and Mack. The court heard they had used methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in the weeks before the child’s death.

Medical experts testified Anthony’s cause of death was related to head trauma.

Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim, a forensic psychologist and chief medical examiner, said he had recent bruising and swelling on his face, blood in his right ear canal and bruising to his arms and chest. He also had a skull fracture, and a rib fracture that was at least a week old.

She concluded that the head trauma “was consistent with recent blows to the front and back of the head, and the presence of the skull fracture was indicative of a significant degree of force.”

Johnson said it’s been difficult for Anthony’s family to sit through the trials.

“Brutal,” she said. “How could somebody do something to such a sweet little warrior?

“There’s a time and place where (Crier) will get his own. In our Cree beliefs, he will get his own. He’s gonna to answer to the Creator.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2010.

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

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