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‘I’m just glad it’s done’: Friends and family of Nicole Campbell express relief at sentencing of Robert Jason MacKenzie


PICTOU, N.S. —

A judge has sentenced Robert Jason MacKenzie to 15 years in prison for the 2015 killing of Nicole Campbell.

Their landlord found the mother of three dead from multiple stab wounds on Dec. 30, 2015 at approximately 4:30 p.m. in the apartment that she and Mackenzie shared on Temperance Street in New Glasgow.

Before the sentencing, Campbell’s family and friends gathered outside the courtroom where her killer was finally going to be sentenced.

“We’ve waited 1,147 days to today,” said Campbell’s aunt, Anne Lawrence. “No matter what he gets today it won’t be enough, but it is what it is.”

Crown Prosecutor Patrick Young read out the joint statement of facts, and the court also heard victim impact statements, which were read aloud by Campbell’s family members.

“Nikki was our life. She was smart. She loved to draw and loved taking pictures and was very much loved by her kids, family and friends,” said Campbell’s aunt Edna Lyons, reading her victim impact statements to the court. “Her kids are so heartbroken. Her youngest son was only eight, and she loved her son so much. Her little man meant the world to Nikki.”

MacKenzie, 39, kept his eyes downcast and did not speak during the sentencing.

Robert Jason MacKenzie being walked out of Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Pictou. MacKenzie was sentenced to 15 years with time-served for manslaughter in the 2015 death of Nicole Campbell. - Brendan Ahern
Robert Jason MacKenzie being walked out of Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Pictou. MacKenzie was sentenced to 15 years with time-served for manslaughter in the 2015 death of Nicole Campbell. - Brendan Ahern

He pleaded guilty in December to manslaughter, reduced from the original charge of second-degree murder. According to the agreed statement of facts, MacKenzie’s guilty plea was the only mitigating factor in his sentencing.

Witness testimony recorded during the investigation as well as toxicology reports indicate that both MacKenzie and Campbell were using methamphetamine at the time of Campbell’s death.

“In my view, the self-induced intoxication is not a mitigating factor in terms of reducing moral culpability,” said Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Nick Scaravelli.

“... It is not lost on this court that consumption of prohibitive drugs can lead to violence in our community. The sentence imposed by the court must send a clear message to members of the public who may be tempted to resort to this type of conduct that punishment will be severe.”

The judge gave MacKenzie credit for pre-sentence custody of 1,148 days. That leaves 10 years and 107 days in his sentence.

“It could be a lot more, but it could have been a lot less as well,” Lyons said outside the courtroom. “I’m just glad it’s done, that it’s over with and he is getting justice for what he did to my niece. We’re just relieved that we don’t have to live this over and over and over. We can remember the good times with Nikki.”

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