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Dad vs Dad
March 14, 2013 permalink
Jesse Meloche knew the way to adopt a child: kill the real dad. On November 24, 2011 he stabbed father Lance Peter Smoke more than ten times. He will be sentenced later this month.
Man pleads guilty to murder
Jesse Meloche was about to adopt a child.
When the child's biological father got in the way, Meloche stabbed the man over and over again.
Meloche, 30, pleaded guilty this week to second-degree murder in the Nov. 24, 2011 stabbing death of Lance Peter Smoke. Smoke, 40, died after fleeing his attacker and pounding on his neighbour's door on Albert Road. Smoke died on the porch.
Meloche was to stand trial for first-degree murder. If convicted, Meloche would have faced a life sentence. Defence lawyer Dan Scott said Friday he met with the prosecutor and a judge earlier in the week and reported back to his client.
Meloche had maintained he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed Smoke more than 10 times. With that many stab wounds, "It would have been difficult to have a jury believe he had acted in self-defence," Scott said.
A preliminary hearing had been held last fall and the case had been transferred to Superior Court. No trial date had yet been set. Meloche entered his guilty plea after the very first pre-trial conference held in Superior Court.
Scott said Meloche and his wife were in the process of adopting Smoke's young son. Smoke had a "colourful past," that included several prison sentences over crimes of violence, Scott said. The Children's Aid Society was involved and had been working with Meloche and his wife regarding the adoption, which Scott described as "imminent."
Meloche had no prior criminal record, Scott said.
Smoke's killing was the first homicide in more than two years, ending what was touted across North America as Windsor's murder-free streak.
Meloche will be sentenced March 25.
Source: Windsor Star
Meloche got a life sentence. This report gives more on the adoption.
Windsor killer to be eligible for parole in 10 years: ‘This crime is so evil’
Two men fought over which of them would make a better father to a little boy.
Now, one is dead, and the other is serving life in prison.
Jesse Meloche, 32, was sentenced Monday to a prison term of at least 10 years for the stabbing death of Lance Peter Smoke.
He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
“This crime is so evil,” said Smoke’s mother, Nadine Anderson, sobbing her way through a statement she read out at Meloche’s sentencing hearing in Superior Court Monday. “It was too much for my ears to hear and my mind to comprehend.”
Then addressing Meloche directly, she said, “You took a father from his son.”
Justice Bruce Thomas said Smoke and Meloche were two men “brought together by their love for the same four-year-old boy.”
Meloche had planned to formally adopt Smoke’s son. The boy had lived with Meloche and Meloche’s wife for many months in a foster arrangement known in native communities as “kinship.”
Smoke, 40, had been unable to care for the boy. He had been in and out of jail, fighting addictions to drugs and alcohol for much of his adult life.
But in November 2011, Smoke seemed to have turned his life around. Clean and sober, he was studying engineering at St. Clair College and planned to get his son back.
Meloche, the judge said, “took matters into his own hands.”
On November 24, 2011, on his way to the drug store to get migraine medication for his wife, Meloche went to Smoke’s residence on Albert Road to talk about who should raise Smoke’s little boy. “He was trying to sell himself as the better parent,” defence lawyer Daniel Scott told the court.
That would not have been an easy sell to Smoke. While Meloche is native, his wife is not, and court heard Smoke wanted his son taught in his Cayuga traditions. Meloche is a member of the Oneida Nation.
When the confrontation ensued, Meloche stabbed Smoke 10 times in the back, abdomen, chest and cheek.
Smoke died from major blood loss.
Monday’s hearing was set to determine parole eligibility. Second degree murder carries a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years. The final determination is made by a parole board, but it considers the recommendation of the sentencing judge.
Smoke’s son is now living with Smoke’s brother and sister-in-law. His sister-in-law, one of five women from the Smoke family to read a statement out in court, said if she had one last chance to speak to Lance again, she would thank him for the gift of his child.
The little boy cries in his sleep and has nightmares. “Why did Jesse want to hurt me?” the boy asks.
The “profound effect” the crime has had on the Smoke family is an aggravating factor in the case, said the judge. Other aggravating factors are the number of stab wounds and the fact that six of them were in Smoke’s back, Thomas said.
On the plus side, said the judge, at the time of the crime, Meloche was married and employed at a car dealership as a mechanic. He had a “solid work history” and had no criminal record. Court heard Meloche has already availed himself of counseling in jail awaiting sentencing, and that his prospects of rehabilitation are good.
Meloche will likely get a university degree or two while behind bars, said his lawyer.
The fact Meloche is native, pleaded guilty and has a supportive family are all mitigating factors the judge said he considered in sentencing the man.
Meloche stood in court and called himself “a murderer.”
He said he is ashamed.
The judge said the fact Meloche was caring for Smoke’s child is a testament to his nature. But the judge added, “There is nothing that can justify his actions.”
Meloche’s lawyer said the man has already paid dearly for his crime. His wife has moved to Alberta with the couple’s two-year-old daughter. He asked the judge to recommend to corrections officials that Meloche serve his sentence in that province where he will be closer to his child and where native programs are available in a federal penitentiary.
He is prohibited from ever owning a firearm and cannot, while behind bars, communicate with the child he so badly wanted to adopt.
Source: Windsor Star