Ottawa Sun Online: NEWS - Mom relives stab horror
Ottawa Sun Online: NEWS - Mom relives stab horror

March 28, 2005

Mom relives stab horror
Family renews call for tougher laws after Kingston killing

By DAVE PIZER, Ottawa Sun

WHEN PAULETTE Moffitt heard about the stabbing death of Queen's University football player Justin Schwieg last week, she relived the pain of losing her son Andy all over again. "When I hear (of) killings with knives, we just relive our own nightmare," Moffitt told the Sun. "It just devastates you that it happened again."

Moffitt's son Andy, 23, was stabbed to death on Dec. 23, 1998, when he tried to break up a fight in the Coyote Bar in Ottawa.

Henry Danninger was sentenced in March 2003 to five years for manslaughter in Andy's killing. He has a parole hearing scheduled April 19.

Schwieg was stabbed once early Friday in the popular Kingston bar AJ's Hangar and died in hospital.

Bruce Keno Elijah McKenzie, 26, turned himself in Saturday and faces a first-degree murder charge.

In June, the Moffitt family sent a letter to about 400 parliamentarians, police organizations, lawyers and others to try and gain support for creating tougher laws for crimes committed with knives, including minimum sentences. Moffitt said the whole family worked on the letter-writing campaign.

"We wanted something positive to work on and to make sure no other family goes through what we have gone through," she said. "And it would be something in his (Andy's) memory."


Moffitt said laws need to be stiffer to deter the use of knives.

"Right now they don't care because they see Andy's case. This guy could be out on parole," said Moffitt. "So these people carrying knives have nothing to lose, they just have to look at what happened here."

Moffitt's MP, Leeds-Grenville Conservative Gord Brown, took up the cause and plans to introduce a private members bill in April. The bill would create minimum sentences for crimes committed with knives that are the same as those for crimes committed with firearms.

Manslaughter or attempted manslaughter with a knife, for example, would carry a minimum four-year sentence, Brown explained.

"We've got two people, two young men, murdered in just a matter of a few years here in our region," said Brown. "I'm not saying that my bill would have saved their lives. However, the government needs to get tougher on criminals."

When Moffitt heard about Schwieg's slaying, she encouraged Brown to bring his bill forward quickly.

"How many more lives are we going to lose before we send out that message that knives kill?"

   Letter to the Media
   Bill C-393
   Our Angel
   Thank You
   Mike's Speech
   Memorial Speech
   Andy's Story
   Our Brother