May 19, 2014 - GUILTY TIMES NINE - My post-verdict thoughts

Click hear for JUDGMENT

There have only been a handful of other times in the history of Canada where this was accomplished.  They usually don't even attempt this. All I ever wanted was the prosecution team to try. And try hard they did!  It's truly a victory, a success for the police and crowns and many others in our country.  Everyone will learn much from the investigation to the preparing of the case.

The fact that the word “ALLEGED” is officially out of my vocabulary alone is a small step forward. That word “ALLEGED” was as dishonest as the name attached to it for 2.5 years. The name Johnathan Robert Pratt (31).

There are many things that happened in the last three weeks.  Day one, Monday, April 28th at 9:40 a.m. the nine NOT GUILTY pleas will forever stick out loud as ever, burned into my brain and heart.  Each one hurt more than words can say.  Thursday, May 15th at 10:35 a.m. Counts one, two, three (impaired driving causing death) GUILTY.  Counts four, five, six (driving over .08 causing death) GUILTY. Counts seven, eight, and nine (manslaughter) GUILTY! This too will stick out in my mind, burned there forever along with 2.5 years of awful memories.

There was just so much emotion in that room.  I swear no one was breathing. Hanging on every single word, every syllable.”

~Words spoken by a witness to this event~

The Judge said EVERYTHING I wanted and needed to hear.  Brad, Kole or Thad played no role at ALL in their horrific deaths at the hands of Johnathan Pratt.  That was stated by the Judge. 

We all knew that Pratt was 100% responsible for this cowardly act and guilty on all charges, but would the Judge agree?  Judge Belzil more than agreed!  There was zero evidence presented to prove or even suggest otherwise.  The only defence was the suggestion of the famous “phantom” driver.  The driver with the exact same DNA as Pratt’s (1 in 370 Billion chance) and I would just guess this designated phantom driver of Pratt’s left unnoticed, leaving no footsteps in the snow, not hurt whatsoever and just walked home, leaving poor Pratt holding the bag!  (1 in 370 Zillion chance) Why wouldn’t Pratt name this “phantom” driver?  The right decision was made, it was not even close!  When this decision came down it took most of us a couple of seconds to comprehend.  That’s a long time; remember Bradley’s life was taken in .03 of a second.  Our brains just couldn’t compute this that quickly.  We were all so exhausted.  I just kept thinking, is it truly over?  Can the defence lawyer argue this, change the Judge’s mind? Is it true? 

We’ve known since Nov26, 2011 that Pratt was guilty and we knew the investigation was very solid, but nothing surprises me anymore regarding the justice system.  The evidence was very logical, rational and valid, the witnesses honest and very forth coming in their expected testimony. Such hard work by all. 

The taxpayers, the good people of our society shouldn’t have to pay for this extremely expensive investigation, the thirty plus days we spent in court, the trial.  Pratt owes everyone!

I truly believe with everything inside of me that the RIGHT DECISION was made and it’s a positive for everyone, the general public, you, me, all of us.  Our children.  This horrific crime does NOT need to happen. “I hope and pray that all drunk drivers get the message.  Don’t think for one second it will never happen to you.  I thought that way and it happened.  It happened times three!!”

It was and still is a huge victory. For a split second I even felt happy.  Brad, Kole and Thad still can’t come home. Never, no way ever.

Now it’s time to do what’s even harder than the 2.5 year wait for justice.  Will justice prevail?  That's now the question.  The SENTENCING of Johnathan Pratt. Pratt guilty of manslaughter (murder) x3, Guilty of three times over the legal alcohol limit of .08 causing the death of my son Bradley Arsenault and his two good friends Kole Novak and Thad Lake.

This portion of the process may end up being the most difficult.  How do you say in words what your child meant to you?  How do you express in some sentences your life without your son, your firstborn, your child, your world?  There are simply no words that will ever even come close to defining the sheer utter heartache.  I know how difficult it is to even fathom this unless you are in my shoes. I understand and can rationalize that.

Even if the judge drops the ball and gives a light sentence, I am hopeful the judgment will change many things for the future.  And that was what I was after.  Nothing will bring Brad back in that door but, that legacy will continue in text books, cases, all over Canada forever. That is the real victory.

No different than any other day AFTER Brad, there are two things I know for sure, the sun will rise and Bradley’s not coming back in that door.  But together we have all made a powerful legacy for my Brad, Kole and Thad. 

You can bet your last dime Brad is very humbled by this and so am I. Remember, Brad liked to win, but he did like competition.

To the Communities of Beaumont and Leduc, RCMP, EMS, Firefighters, the Crown Prosecution (Dream Team), Judge Paul Belzil the Media, Families For Justice, family, friends and even strangers, THANK YOU for walking with me through this past 2.5 years. 

On Friday, August 1st, 2014, SENTENCING of Johnathan Pratt will commence at 9:00 a.m. at the Wetaskiwin courthouse. 

Each and every one of you is welcomed to attend.

Bradley, if you are not too busy enjoying a long weekend in Heaven, could you give Kole and Thad a hug for me.

I love you,



Last updated on: 2016-07-04 | Link to this post