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
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.