Nadia Gonzales’ killers sentenced to at least 25 years in prison
‘I am not a murderer,' says Calvin Joel (CJ) Maynard Sparks
January 24, 2020, 6:11 pm ASTLast Updated: January 24, 2020, 6:43 pm
The two people convicted of murdering Nadia Gonzales in 2017 were sentenced Friday to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Calvin Joel (CJ) Maynard Sparks, 26, and Samanda Rose Ritch, 22, gave statements before being sentenced at Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
Ritch apologized for Gonzales’ death. She said she’ll never understand what Gonzales’ family is going through, and she recognized that she’s learning a hard lesson.
Sparks also apologized for the Gonzales family’s loss, but said he’s innocent.
“I am not a murderer,” Sparks said. “Since day one, I’ve been able to look each and every one of you in the eye.
“I am not Nadia’s killer. This is not over yet and I’m going to fight for my innocence.”
Sparks and Ritch were arrested on June 16, 2017, the day police found Gonzales’ body in a Dartmouth apartment building. They were both convicted of first-degree murder last month after a six-week jury trial.
After the sentencing, Crown attorney Robert Kennedy said he could feel the two-and-a-half years worth of emotion from Gonzales’ loved ones.
“Today was for the Gonzales family,” said Kennedy. “Today was for Nadia’s mom and dad, her daughters, her siblings and close loved ones. It was their opportunity to express the unresolved heartache and trauma they experienced in relation to this matter.”
During the sentencing, the courtroom heard seven victim impact statements. Nadia’s parents, Ray and Irene Gonzales; her sister, Olivia Irving; Nadia’s daughter; sister-in-law; friend John Patterson and a second friend read their written statements in person.
“We fell into utter despair and grief, which I still struggle with and will until my dying day,” Irene Gonzales said while reading her statement as Ray sat beside her for support.
“Forty times they brutalized her and those 40 times they had the opportunity to stop,” she said.
Gonzales, 35, was stabbed 37 times, suffering lethal neck wounds to her carotid artery and jugular vein. Her body was stuffed in a black duffel bag and found in a stairwell at 33 Hastings Drive.
According to Crown attorney Robert Kennedy, Gonzales ran a crack cocaine dealing business, in which John Patterson, Sparks and others helped. Over time, the relationship between Sparks and Gonzales began falling apart. Sparks was jealous of Gonzales’ financial success, believed she was a police informant and was intolerant of her calling him a “rat.”
During the trial, the Crown theorized Sparks created a plan to kill Gonzales and enlisted the help of Ritch, his former girlfriend.
Patterson, 72, testified during the trial he had tried to get Sparks off of Gonzales. Patterson suffered six stab wounds that night. He fled the apartment and was found collapsed outside.
While Sparks and Ritch were found not guilty of attempted murder of Patterson, Sparks was convicted of assault causing bodily harm. Sparks will serve four years concurrently with his life sentence.
Justice Christa Brothers oversaw the trial. She also imposed two ancillary orders for Sparks and Ritch: a DNA order and a firearms prohibition for life.
Before reading her decision to the courtroom, Brothers expressed her sympathy for Gonzales’ family and friends.
“All these individuals,” she said, “have deep, emotional wounds that may never heal.
“They [Sparks and Ritch] will never be truly free again.”
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