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South Okanagan man sentenced to five years in charges related to death of stepson
A man who lived in the Oliver area for years was found guilty of charges related to the death of his 13-year-old stepson and sentenced to five years in prison.
Lloyd William Cook, 54, was sentenced Tuesday in Prince George to three years for unlawful confinement and two years for offering an indignity to a human body for convictions stemming from the January 2000 death of his stepson Adam Scott Williams-Dudoward. Cook was given 33 days credit for time spent in custody.
Cook gave a long and tearful statement, stating he was "sorry."
"I want to express that I'm very sorry," he said. "I regret not calling 911 on the day this happened. I wish I would've... What I did was irrational. I know now it was very wrong. I'm very sorry for what Judy (Williams, the boy's natural mother) and her whole family have gone through ... I know I didn't do the right thing."
Cook told the court about his own "abusive" childhood, how he ended up in jail and of his problems with alcohol that plagued him for many years. He repeated the words, 'I'm sorry,' several times in apparent reference to his actions around the time of Adam's death.
During the trial, which began in January, the court heard Cook and Williams were living in a trailer in Prince George with Williams' two sons in 2000. For two to three days before his Jan. 7 death, Adam had been tied up in a bedroom allegedly to prevent him from touching his younger brother in a sexual manner. Testifying in the Crown's case, Williams recalled Cook came in from outside to find Adam in distress, and later unresponsive, but Cook did not phone for medical assistance.
"I know I didn't do the right thing," Cook said Tuesday. "I realize that now and I'm sorry. I'm not in denial of what happened ... I want to be accountable for what I've done ... for what happened."'
The trial has taken many twists and turns. On Feb. 8 Justice Glen Parrett rendered his decision finding Cook guilty on the two counts for which he was sentenced Tuesday. He found Cook not guilty of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death. Previously, Cook had been a no show for his scheduled verdict Jan. 31 and was arrested weeks later in Osoyoos, he still faces charges in that regard.
Circumstances around Adam's death in 2000 are still shrouded in mystery. Justice Parrett noted in his reasons for judgment, that, all these years later, there are still many unanswered questions. It was only in 2004 that Williams reported Adam's death to RCMP and later helped them to locate an area off North Nechako Rd. where her son's remains were believed found.
Adam's body had apparently been wrapped in a blanket, placed in the trunk of a car for two to three weeks – and at one point, noted Parrett, the trunk with the boy's remains inside was in the driveway within a few feet of a visiting social worker. The body was then buried in a shallow grave.
On Tuesday, Parrett said he took into account Cook's "significant and disturbing" criminal record: 33 criminal convictions spanning the years 1975 to 1998. He took time to read out, one by one, Cook's list of convictions including dates and places where each occurred. They include thefts, break and enters, assaults, assault causing bodily harm, impaired driving and forcible confinement.
The crimes took place in B.C. and Alberta, in cities such as Drumheller, Oliver, Pentiction, Calgary and Jasper. Parrett stressed that several offences were committed at times when Cook was already on probation for other matters.
Athough Parrett found that in Cook's case, there was no evidence of traditional characterization of child abuse (such as shaken baby or physical abuse) he did find the act of tying Adam up for two or three days, apparently to separate the children, while it was a "single act" covered an extended period of time.
"Nothing justifies this use of force or restraint," said Parrett.
Wayne Dudoward, Adam's natural father, who sat very quietly in the back of the courtroom during sentencing Tuesday, said outside the courthouse he was still "trying to absorb all the court jargon."
Asked how he felt with the ordeal of Cook's trial over, Dudoward shrugged and said, "I feel quite drained."
He expressed regret that other family members, for various reasons, couldn't be there for the hearing. Dudoward said he was "pleased" with the judge's almost five year sentence for Cook but said he's still "perplexed" as to why Cook was not convicted of manslaughter.
And for Dudoward, Cook's contrite apologies and "lots of crying" in front of the judge that day rang hollow.
"He's [Cook] just trying to justify his actions through his lies, and I'm quite angered. He's not remorseful. He's just evil."
When asked, what the still grieving father remembers most about his son Adam, Dudoward smiled and replied:
"He was a gentle spirit. He was like that with everyone. Just a beautiful spirit."