Father dies before seeing daughter's killer sentenced for crime

By Kevin Martin, Postmedia Network

Christa Cachene, 26, has been identified as the woman who was found dead in a home on Randlands Bay in Calgary on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. (Facebook photo)

Christa Cachene, 26, has been identified as the woman who was found dead in a home on Randlands Bay in Calgary on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. (Facebook photo)

 Leslie Whitehead didn't live long enough to see the man who stomped his daughter to death sent to prison for the crime.

Whitehead died Friday, just days before the sentencing hearing of Isaiah Rider on Monday in the killing of Christa Cachene, Crown prosecutor Matt Block told court.

Whitehead died of a heart attack.

The Calgary man had discovered his daughter dead on Oct. 11, 2015, after returning to her northwest Calgary home with his two grandchildren.

"She was so badly beaten that he did not recognize his daughter," Block told court back in April, when Rider pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Cachene's death.

In court Monday, Block said Rider's actions, along with crimes he committed while on the lam after the killing, warranted an 18-year prison term.

Block said the manslaughter alone would justify a punishment of 12 years.

A carjacking Rider was involved in in Central Alberta would warrant an additional 3 1/2 years, while what he characterized as a home invasion robbery another seven.

He said when taking the totality of the sentence into account a reduction to 18 years would be justified.

But defence lawyer Balfour Der argued for a lesser total punishment.

Der said Justice Suzanne Bensler should sentence Rider, 20, to nine years for the killing and another six years for the other crimes.

Der said Rider's Indigenous background, of violence, substance abuse and neglect, reduced his client's moral culpability.

He also said his client was a youthful offender, who was just 18 at the time of Cachene's slaying.

"His understanding of life ... is filled with violence, substance abuse and him being handed off (from family to family)," Der said.

"He started (life) behind the eight-ball."

But Block said the violence involved in Rider's crimes, particularly Cachene's killing, called for a more harsh punishment.

"We had a brutal assault by the six-foot, 170-pound Mr. Rider on the five-foot, one-inch, 110-pound female victim ... which included stomping on her chest and on her head," Block said.

The prosecutor acknowledged Rider was provoked by Cachene, who stabbed him in the back with a knife before they got into a verbal altercation.

But he said that didn't exonerate Rider for his conduct.

"The response was completely out of proportion to the provocation," Block said.

Der said Cachene's conduct also was a mitigating factor in favour of his client.

"She started the fight, she stabbed Mr. Rider in the back," he said.

Rider assaulted Cachene, 26, after a period of binge drinking by them and others at the deceased's Ranchlands home in northwest Calgary.

By early morning on Oct. 11, 2015, two of the five party-goers, including Cachene's boyfriend, had passed out.

At that point Cachene and Rider got into a verbal altercation in her kitchen and she stabbed him with a small knife in the back and cut the back of his hand.

They then proceeded to the living room where they exchanged punches before Cachene was knocked to the floor and stomped on.

She died of blunt trauma injuries.

Before Bensler adjourned her sentencing decision to next week, Rider addressed the court.

"I would like to express my heartfelt sorrow for Ms. Cachene's family," he said.

"I would like to say I'm very remorseful for what I've done," he said.

"I'm here today to prepare myself to deal with the consequences."

Rider will receive credit for pre-trial custody of about three years.

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts