‘I wish I could go to jail with her’: Bedridden mother of Easterville con artist speaks to the Free Press
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/10/2015 (2672 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
EASTERVIILLE — She has spent the past three decades mostly confined to her bed, the result of severe arthritis and other health ailments that have ravaged her body.
But Delia Chartier said she has never felt pain like she did Wednesday — when she watched her daughter, best friend and primary caregiver hauled out of court in handcuffs.
“I wish I could go to jail with her. I told them to take me with her,” the 55-year-old woman told the Free Press in an exclusive interview following court inside her home in Easterville, located 500 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
Shelly Chartier, 31, was given an 18-month sentence for pulling off one of the most complex and bizarre cases of cybercrime ever discovered in Canada.
Delia was able to come watch the high-profile sentencing hearing thanks to Easterville paramedics who wheeled her into the community hall turned courtroom on a stretcher. She sobbed quietly as provincial court Judge Ryan Rolston read his judgment, in which he rejected her daughter’s bid for a conditional sentence that would allow her to remain inside the very home where her crimes occurred. Rolston then instructed sheriff’s officers to give the Chartier women a few private moments to say goodbye.
“This is our little world. I was praying they would let her come home,” Delia said as she lay on a tiny bed inside the room she shared with her daughter.
She was surrounded by a few snack foods, a half-empty pack of cigarettes, two large teddy bears, her daughter’s legal papers and a big screen plasma television on which they would frequently watch Netflix and play video games together.
Probation officials have described Shelly as a poorly educated, socially isolated young woman who both looks and acts much younger than her age. She has never worked a day in her life, describes her disabled mother as her best and only friend and rarely ventures out of her home — at least until Wednesday.
“She’s only 89 pounds. I have to pray she’s going to be OK (in jail). I hope she doesn’t get raped or get the (expletive) beaten out of her. She’s the only thing I have in my life,” her mother said Wednesday. Her telephone was ringing constantly following court, with several family members wanting to know what happened.
“They took my daughter. She got 18 months. Now I don’t have no one,” a crying Delia told one caller.
Defence lawyer John Skinner told the family Shelly could be eligible for day parole after serving one-sixth of her sentence. That could put her back home by January, if all goes well.
Once she returns, Delia said they are ready to write a new chapter in their lives — which includes leaving Easterville.
“We have to start fresh somewhere. Easterville has shown me what they think of us. The community is upset,” she said.
Hopes to reconnect with American husband
Members of the community submitted a victim impact statement during sentencing submissions in August, expressing anger with Shelly for the negative attention she’s brought to Easterville. Delia said they’ve now experienced the same kind of “bullying” that her daughter did when she was attending school and was forced to drop out in Grade 6.
Following those incidents, Shelly Chartier apparently lost all interest in making friends. Her mother was her life, along with her aunt and two cousins, Bert and Ernie.
Her aunt was the biggest factor in raising the children, including Shelly, because of Delia’s medical condition. But she died suddenly in 2012, which was around the time Shelly Chartier began to prey on victims online.
An urn containing the aunt’s ashes sits above the headrest in Chartier’s room.
“I didn’t know she was doing it until she was charged,” said Delia. “I don’t deny my daughter is smart. And I know she is sorry for the things she did. If she could take it back she would.”
When she is released from jail, Shelly hopes to reunite with the 22-year-old New York man she began chatting with while playing online video games several years ago, met for the first-time last winter, and quickly married inside her Easterville home during a Christmas ceremony.
The man, who has a prior conviction for drug possession, was deported from Canada last spring. He was speaking to his new wife on a nightly basis right up until her sentencing.
“I know love when I see it,” her mother said. “They fall asleep on the phone talking to each other. He’s a very nice man. He would die for her.”
During submissions in August, Shelly’s lawyer suggested his client might be pregnant with the man’s child. Delia Chartier now says that proved to be a false alarm. But she believes they will eventually be together and live happily ever after.
The alternative, she says, is too frightening to ponder.
“I might wither up and die,” she said.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.