Ottawa Sun Online Editorial/Letters
Ottawa Sun Online Editorial/Letters

March 29


Henry Danninger was a street punk and drug dealer the night he went looking for trouble at a bar on Somerset St. It was Dec. 23, 1998. Danninger was hoping to settle a score with a roommate and, with that in mind, he bought and packed a knife ... you know, just in case.

There was a ruckus and when Andrew Moffitt, a 23-year-old University of Ottawa engineering student, tried to intervene he was stabbed in the heart and killed by Danninger.

For more than four years, Andrew Moffitt's family has awaited justice. They didn't get it this week.

Instead, a court sentenced Danninger on a reduced charge of manslaughter. After granting him the usual double credit for time spent under "house arrest," a judge sentenced him to five years which, under our insane sentencing system, means he will be eligible for parole in less than two years.

Imagine that: Less than two years of real jail time for plunging a knife into an innocent young man and killing him.

Of course, there'll be no time off for good behaviour, nor will there be double credit for the pain and anguish already endured by the victim's family.

No, the Moffitts have been handed a life sentence of heartache and for that our system offers painfully little by way of mercy.

In passing sentence, Ontario Superior Court Justice Roydon Kealey urged the family to bring closure to the terrible death of their son and to move on with their lives.

"The case is done. It's over," he said.

"It is my hope and prayer that you are given the grace to put closure in your lives."

While nothing could possibly erase the grief brought by such a tragic and senseless loss, we're certain that a stiffer sentence, one that better reflected the true magnitude of the crime, would at least have given the Moffitts comfort in knowing that justice had been done.

What value do we place on life when the perpetrator of a killing of this nature is dispatched with the same punishment our system might mete out for a jewelry heist or a few stolen cars?

How did it come to the point where we place such a low value on life, anyway? Why do we place so little value in notions like accountability and responsibility in our justice system? Henry Danninger bought a knife and killed an innocent young man. He will spend less than two years in jail for it.

It's a crime.

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