Nick Hickey, just 17, triumphed over much hardship in his short life.He was that bright light in a dark corner who avoided crowds and was often the smartest in the room, and definitely at the supper table.He was the brilliant, autistic kid who seemed too smart for this world. He started walking the family dog — Nico, a Husky-Boxer mix — around his Bells Corners neighbourhood for hours at a time, up to five times a day, before and after school. He also started walking on his own. It was his way of dealing with anxiety, and he met neighbours along the way.His last walk in that wonderful world was on the night of Jan. 17, 2018.
Nick Hickey was struck by a car while walking on a sidewalk and killed in January 2018.
Wayne Cuddington /
He was on the sidewalk when Guillermo Escobedo-Hoyo, 39, aimed his car and ran Hickey over in what doctors said was a psychotic break that involved smashing his cello at home, smashing his car into a light standard and then killing young Nick. He then reversed and hit a truck, stripped naked and smashed the window of an OC Transpo bus with terrified passengers aboard. He then entered a senior’s home, demanding a gun, according to an agreed statement of facts filed in court on Thursday, when the Ottawa paralegal was found not criminally responsible in the second-degree murder case.Ottawa Police Const. Paul Stam found the naked fugitive hiding in a neighbour’s parked jeep.Psychiatrists for the Crown and defence came to identical conclusions that Escobedo-Hoyo did not have the state of mind at the time to appreciate what he was doing, let alone know it was legally or morally wrong.The court heard that when a neighbour said they were going to call 911, Escobedo-Hoyo told her not to make the call.Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger told court there was no measure of justice and the not criminally responsible ruling would never be seen as justice by Hickey’s family.The judge noted the overwhelming evidence, including a history of bipolar disorder, supported the finding that would send Escobedo-Hoyo to hospital instead of jail.Maranger told the family he was “very, very sorry” and couldn’t imagine the “sorrow and anguish you have to shoulder.”Escobedo-Hoyo showed no emotion in court and did not apologize to grieving friends and family.
Guillermo Escobedo-Hoyo, a paralegal, was found not criminally responsible in connection with the death of Nick Hickey.
In moving victim-impact statements, Hickey’s family, friends and teachers painted a portrait of a young man who had to work harder than most.His mother, Tracy Mellon, recalled going to her son’s high-school graduation ceremony without him. She accepted his diploma on his behalf, and his graduation cap sits atop his urn on the dining room table.“I miss everything about Nick,” Mellon said in a tearful tribute.She feels broken inside. “I’m lost and don’t know who I am.” She said it’s hard to celebrate holidays without Hickey. Some days, it’s hard to leave her bedroom.Nick, she said, brought life to her family.“You have destroyed a human being … There is a big hole in my life,” she told Escobedo-Hoyo.She wanted to hear an apology and she wanted him to take responsibility.“He’s not being punished for anything,” Mellon said after the court hearing.Outside court, Escobedo-Hoyo’s mother hugged Mellon and apologized and said she hoped the best for her.At the court hearing, friends and family said they missed their time with Nick and some felt guilty for not spending enough time with him before he died.Stepfather Pete Mellon said he looked up to his son’s search for knowledge and innate sense of right and wrong, and added that Nick had a strict moral code against drugs and booze.The death of this “one in a million” son had left his family and friends devastated, he told court. “There is very little joy in our family these days.”Some of Nick’s teachers filed and read victim-impact statements, recalling him as a gentle soul who was always accountable. They said Escobedo-Hoyo killed an innocent kid, and one teacher called him a monster.Jennifer Scott was a teacher who championed Nick’s success-against-odds in school, and she praised his bold imagination and sweet disposition. More importantly, she listened to Hickey and understood both his brilliance and innocence. She said teachers, like parents, aren’t supposed to have favourites, but Nick was the exception.One neighbour also filed an impact statement, saying she would miss seeing young Nick walk by her porch.Justice Maranger called Hickey’s death senseless and useless and noted the “ripple effect of emotional harm that runs long and deep.”Escobedo-Hoyo will live in a locked ward at a mental-health hospital for treatment and his case will be monitored by the Ontario Review Board, which will decide when he’s fit to be released slowly back into society.If and when he’s released, Escobedo-Hoyo faces deportation to Mexico. The paralegal’s work visa expired two months after his 2018 arrest by police.Some of Hickey’s family noted in court that Escobedo-Hoyo had enjoyed a privileged life as a son of a Mexican lawyer who went to a U.S. prep school.Nick on the other hand, had more strife in his short life. His neighbours covered funeral costs and someone donated a suit. His family can’t afford a gravestone or a plot to bury his email@example.com://www.twitter.com/crimegardenALSO IN THE NEWS:Dog let out of car with windows shutHere’s what’s going on in the capital on Canada DayCommunity fails to convince councillors to block taller building in Greystone Village