N.B. teenager to be sentenced next month in fatal stabbing of former friend

The Canadian Press ~ The News
Published on February 17, 2010

MONCTON, N.B. - Nathaniel McFadden and the teenager yelled and cursed at each other as they moved closer.
McFadden, 20, had been waiting outside a residence in Pointe-du-Chene for several minutes on the night of Jan. 8, 2009. He showed up looking to fight the 17-year-old and was finally going to get his chance.
McFadden took the first swing, but missed the teen, who had his hands in the front pocket of his hooded sweater.
As the punch failed to land, the teen took his hand out of his pocket and gave McFadden an uppercut to the rib cage. The single blow ended the fight.
Both combatants took a step back, McFadden holding his left side, the teen holding a bloody knife.
The description of McFadden's fatal stabbing was in an agreed statement of facts read in Moncton youth court Tuesday during pre-sentencing for the teen, now 18.
The defendant, who can't be named, was charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He has agreed to be sentenced as an adult on March 5. The Crown is looking for 10 to 12 years in prison while the defence is asking for something in the range of five years.
After being stabbed, McFadden fell to the ground while the accused and his friends started yelling "PDC Rules," in reference to Pointe-du-Chene. One person at the scene later told police the teen's friends seemed to think it was "cool" that someone got stabbed.
That same witness told police the teen with the knife said to McFadden, "Bleed. Keep bleeding," then fled the scene. He tossed the knife into a field, where police later found it
McFadden died in hospital later.
The incident was over in minutes but actually built up over several weeks, according to Crown prosecutor Stephen Holt.
The victim and accused had known each other for several years, grew up in the same area and were even friends at one point. But the teen heard a rumour that McFadden had ratted him out in relation to him allegedly breaking into someone's car.
In response, the teen began spreading rumours he had hooked up with McFadden's girlfriend. She denied having sexual relations with the teen, but McFadden believed the rumours and the relationship ended. He was heartbroken and focused his anger on the teen.
Over the phone and the Internet, McFadden made threats to the teen, telling him he was going to knock him out, challenging him to a fight and even threatening to kill him the night of the stabbing.
The teen ducked McFadden's challenges and said he didn't want to fight, but McFadden persisted. Several people heard the teen say he carried a knife and wouldn't hesitate to use it to defend himself against McFadden. In one written communication to McFadden, the teen told him he would: "leav ya buried u goof."
The tough talk went back and forth for weeks leading up to the Jan. 8 incident.
The teen told investigators he feared he was going to be beaten with a baseball bat, so he protected himself. He said he was pressured by his friends to go outside and confront McFadden and felt bad for killing someone he considered a friend.
The teen sat in the prisoner's dock throughout the day-long hearing while the court was filled with family members from both sides and extra court security. The teen didn't address the court, but he wrote a letter that was read out loud.
"I hope the court sees I was put in a very bad situation that night," he said in his letter, adding he was scared and reacted out of fear.
The teen admitted it sounds hollow, but offered an apology to McFadden's family and said he will have to live with his actions for the rest of his life.
Several members of the victim's family read their impact statements, including his mother, Dawn Eckert, who trembled as she read.
She spoke of the pain of seeing her son dead in the hospital, wrapped up in a blanket with a tube still stuck in his mouth. Because it was a homicide, the family couldn't touch him because he had to be checked for evidence.
Eckert turned to the accused and, as he looked her in the eye, told him she forgives him and prays for him every night.
"The judgment from God will be much worse than what's experienced on this Earth," she said.
Paul McFadden, the victim's father, said he has a bag at home filled with keepsakes from his son's childhood, including a baby soother and wrist band from the hospital where he was born.
"I have received a life sentence and mine is much harsher than his killer will ever know," he said. "Now I sit here with my bag of memories, a shell of the man I once was."