Devan Selvey’s mother says she is “relieved” by the surprise guilty plea of the teenager who killed his son.
Devan He was 14 when he was fatally stabbed outside Sir Winston Churchill High School in Hamilton’s East End on October 7, 2019. His mother witnessed the stabbing and held him in her arms as he died.
The 14-year-old who wielded the knife pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a Superior Court of Justice Monday afternoon. The teenager is now 16 years old. He cannot be identified according to the Juvenile Criminal Justice Act.
“I just have to say that some kind of justice was done for Devan,” Shari-Ann Selvey wrote in a statement to The Spectator on Tuesday. “I am relieved that … the young man finally admitted what he did.”
In an agreed statement of facts read in court, the teenager admitted that he stabbed Devan “with the intention of causing serious bodily harm and that he knew it would likely cause death.” Before the stabbing, he heard screams and believed that his older brother was in danger. Still, he admitted that his behavior was “unreasonable.”
The teenager glanced briefly at his family as he was taken to court. He responded with one-word answers when the judge asked him questions.
Devan’s mother and father were present in court. Selvey cried through much of Monday’s procedure, which took just over an hour. He wore a purple bow pinned to his jacket. Purple was Devan’s favorite color.
“I just hope after sentencing that our family can find some peace and start to heal,” Selvey said in his statement.
He praised the Crown and Hamilton police for their work on the case.
“The Crown did an incredible job and so did the detectives,” Selvey said. “They kept in touch with us constantly for the last two years, giving us updates and just … their compassion.”
Court heard that Devan was stabbed in the back with a knife the teenager pulled from his waist. He would not have seen or heard the assassin behind him. The teen’s 6-inch blade left a 3-inch wound on Devan’s back. He punctured his lung.
Devan also had a knife, although he was not holding it.
Other youths on the scene who were involved in an earlier confrontation with Devan and his friend had bear spray, an extendable baton, and brass cuffs on them.
The brother of the young man who stabbed Devan, then 18 years old, was in possession of bear spray and brass knuckles. He was initially charged with first degree murder in connection with Devan’s death, but the charge was dropped and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor weapons charge in August. He was given a suspended sentence plus 15 months of probation.
A sentencing date for the youngest teenager has not yet been set.
Devan and his killer were in the ninth grade at Winston Churchill, but did not know each other, the court heard.
In a statement, Dawn Danko, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, said the teenager’s guilty plea “demonstrates the senseless, tragic and premature death of a young student, Devan Selvey.”
“We continue to offer our condolences to her mother, Shari-Ann, and her entire family. Devan will always be remembered. “
Devan’s mother has said her son was bullied relentlessly. Her bluntness on the issue prompted the board to review its approach to handling bullying.
“Devan’s legacy will live on through the implementation of the Safe Schools Review Panel’s recommendations: Bullying Prevention and Intervention,” said Danko.
Katrina Clarke is a reporter for The Spectator who lives in Hamilton. Contact her by email: [email protected]