In a family photo, Mary Rodrigues of Woodstock holds her youngest son Alexander Fleming, before he was killed.
Credits: LFP ARCHIVES.
WOODSTOCK, ON – The drunk driver who killed four-month-old Alexander Fleming on Thanksgiving Day 2008 has been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison.
Bonita Purtill’s sentence the Crown's request for seven years behind bars and was considerably harsher than the two- to four-year term suggested by the defence.
“Hopefully, the case will set a new standard,” said Mary Rodrigues, mother of Baby Alex. “She got the toughest sentence the Crown was asking for.”
Still, Rodrigues said there is “no closure.”
“It’s one step finished,” she said. “Now we move on, we go back to focusing on the boys, take one day at a time.”
Purtill, 48, has a previous drunk-driving conviction. As well, a pre-sentence report noted she “insisted on minimizing and justifying her actions” and failed “to take full responsibility for the offence.”
“That was very troubling to me,” Judge Kelly Gorman said.
A jury found Purtill guilty on June 30 of six charges including impaired driving and criminal negligence causing death.
On Tuesday, the court heard several victim-impact statements from family members, including Alex’s father Michael Fleming.
“There are a lot of firsts I will never experience with Alex — first steps, first words, his first day at school,” he said.
He also shared his “anguish and self torture” over the fact that he was unable to protect his family from harm.
“Through the thoughtlessness and selfishness of Bonita Purtill, I was stripped of my ability to perform that fatherly duty. This has left me feeling inadequate at times, second guessing myself as to whether or not I am able to do this,” he said.
Both Fleming and Rodrigues stated they were disappointed Purtill showed little remorse over her actions.
“Over the last four years, I feel I have not seen any signs of inner turmoil, regret or remorse for what has been done by Bonita Purtill,” he said.