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'My shining light': Tanti family details impact of Nick's death

Victim impact statements were read out loud by Nick Tanti's mother and sister on Tuesday

The urn containing Nick Tanti's ashes sat in a Guelph courtroom Tuesday as family and friends delivered emotional victim impact statements.

The statements were part of submissions in the sentencing process for Aidan Kee, found guilty of manslaughter in the stabbing death of Tanti outside a Downtown Guelph pool hall in 2020.

The Crown is seeking a six-to-seven year jail term. The defense is calling for a sentence of two to five years in jail.

Nick's mom Sharon Tanti – wearing a black shirt displaying a photo of Nick and the words "Justice for Nick," and her son's large urn on display behind her – began what she called the "final phase of my fight in seeing justice done for my son Nick Tanti."

She described him as her "shining light," someone who was "deeply loved by so many people," adventurous, energetic, full of joy, kind and encouraging, responsible with great morals.

"He was great at everything, and lived his life to the fullest. Every mentor involved bonded with Nick and who he was, and made him a better person," Sharon Tanti told the court, her voice quivering throughout.

Nick was remembered for his love of chess and football, but also his love of animals.

Sharon Tanti, as well as his younger sister Jessica – who delivered her own statement – recalled moments Nick would bring cats to the house, three of which still reside in the Tanti household.

They also talked about Nick's love of creating, building benches out of wood and a number of homes across Ontario.

"He had already decided his calling was going to be working as a crane engineer, and was accepted into crane school," Sharon Tanti said. "(Nick) was waiting for a position and looking to start as an apprentice in Oakville. His plan was to move there in March (2020)."

Jessica added how Nick worked in construction as a framer.

"Nick had always told us that he was going to build us his own home one day," she said. "And he would help us with anything we needed right."

Both remembered the late night wake up. Sharon Tanti recalled the four individuals who walked up to her door, and went inside to break the news. Jessica described her disbelief in getting a message over Facebook at 6 a.m. that Nick was stabbed.

"The loss I have endured has been horrendous," said Nick's only sibling, now 27-years-old.

"I think no sister deserves to lay to rest a beautiful, young soul like Nick."

Jessica said she's been unable to eat and sleep some days, is frequently short fused with my co-workers and has had to put off work for "stress, anger and anxiety depression."

She also detailed the sense of loss for her daughter Jasmine, who was two-months-old at the time of Nick's death.

"What happened to him was a tragedy, and it brings me to my knees watching it as I cry uncontrollably," Sharon Tanti added.

"I see these kids having babies now on their own, getting married and families, and knowing Nick won't be having a family or babies of his own. Many of his friends are naming their children after him, and it breaks me down. 

"But I can't think about it or talk about it. It's the worst thing imaginable that Nick is not here."

The actual sentencing date has been pushed back to Nov. 3 due to the need for more submissions from defence council.

It prompted Sharon Tanti, Nick's mother to stand up in open court to voice her displeasure.

"I think this has gone on quite long enough," she told the court from the courtroom gallery.

Sharon Tanti also had a number of critiques of the criminal justice system, and the Kee trial itself.

She accused Aidan of lying on the stand "several times," that she was "picked on by the entire defense" during the judicial process.

During the trial, it was said Aidan and Nick knew each other for many years.

However, the Tanti family disputed that. Jessica claimed she had "never heard" of Aidan or his brother Angus before the trial.

Nick died of a single stab wound following a fight with Kee in front of Tony's Billiards on Macdonell Street.

Kee was found guilty of manslaughter by a 12-person jury in June.

His younger brother Angus was acquitted of accessory after the fact murder.

Kee has been out on bail since the guilty verdict.

Crown attorney Leila Mehkeri said Aidan's testimony was "not credible," and leaves a lot to be desired, calling the stabbing intentional.

Defense lawyer James Miglin cited many submissions from family members, as well as former co-workers, who testified during the trial, calling Aidan a "family-oriented individual," hard working with no criminal record, no history of violence and no issues upon release on bail.

He said alcohol played a factor that night on both sides, and a lengthy prison sentence is "not necessary to give Aidan the message."

Miglin, through statements from the family, detailed the "pain that Aidan has felt as a result of his involvement in Nick Tanti's death" and how it will "haunt him every day for the rest of his life."

The day finished with Miglin asking for an adjournment to enter more into his sentencing submissions. That will now happen Oct. 18, the date that was supposed to be when Lemon handed down punishment.

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Mark Pare

About the Author: Mark Pare

Mark is a graduate of Canadore College in North Bay whose career has taken him through a number of spots across Ontario. He spent nearly a decade in the radio news industry in North Bay, Timmins and Waterloo Region
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