Edmonton man Dwayne Demkiw, 42, went missing on Sunday, May 31, 2015.
Supplied / EPS
The family of an Edmonton man slain in 2015 said Friday they can finally hold a memorial for him now that his killer has been found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years without parole.Jason Steadman was previously found guilty in the killing of Dwayne Demkiw, a part-time limo driver.The six-week trial heard from 92 witnesses from several provinces and the United States.Demkiw’s family members read victim impact statements in court Friday prior to sentencing, detailing the life that was taken from them, the hardships of having to travel from Saskatchewan for court dates and the pain of not being able to hold a memorial until the trial was over.The last time Demkiw, 42, was seen alive was May 31, 2015. His car was found on fire in Calgary hours after his disappearance and police launched a missing person investigation. His remains were discovered in a wooded area near Innisfail on April 5, 2016.Steadman was extradited to Canada from the United States to face the first-degree murder charge. Angeline Demkiw, Dwayne Demkiw’s mother, held her son’s first baby photo up, facing Steadman as Crown prosecutor Chantelle Washenfelder read aloud her victim impact statement. “Some of (the evidence) was so dreadful I had to leave the courtroom as I could not bear to see or hear anymore about what happened,” said Washenfelder on behalf of Angeline Demkiw. “After seeing the video of (Steadman) hiding in a large garbage dumpster, just waiting for our son to appear so he could do him harm, I am no longer able to be around one of these bins as an inordinate fear overtakes me and my heart begins to pound.”Eugene Demkiw, Dwayne Demkiw’s father, also had a photo of his son that he held as he read out his victim impact statement. The photo he held was taken the last time he saw Demkiw — in Edmonton, on May 21, 2015. “I held that dear to my heart that it was the last time I’d seen him alive,” said Eugene Demkiw outside the courthouse. The family also talked of the pain of not being able to hold a memorial for Demkiw, as many friends were testifying or could be called to testify, and could not be contacted in order to uphold the integrity of the trial.“It was hard. All of his friends we couldn’t have contact with and those were his friends. It just left us by ourselves,” said Angeline Demkiw. The family plans to finally hold a memorial in the summer. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sterling Sanderman addressed the Demkiw family directly before sentencing Steadman, saying he wanted to thank the family for their behaviour in court and showing respect for the judicial process.Steadman was also offered the chance to speak to the courtroom, which he declined.“I really hoped he would have said something. It would help me heal, but he didn’t say anything,” said Angeline Demkiw afterwards. Steadman, who remained emotionless, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years, a three-year sentence for arson to run concurrently and a lifetime weapons ban.Outside the courthouse, the family thanked the detectives, prosecutors, the jury and even Steadman’s lawyer, Darin Sprake.“We can’t say thank you enough to the process. From the prosecutors, they’ve been amazing and they have taken us through every step of the way and to the jury we thank them for their attentiveness,” said Tabatha Paul, Dwayne Demkiw’s cousin.“Almost six weeks of their life they’ve given up, it’s a huge thing to ask of anyone and we are just grateful that they were so attentive and took that evidence and really spent the time and gave us an outcome that any family would want in this kind of situation.”— With files from Jonny Wakefieldajunker@postmedia.comTwitter.com/JunkerAnna