Defence Attempts to Throw-Out Mayor's Statement at Widholm Sentencing Hearing

AM800-NEWS-Ganatchio-Trail-assault-October-8-2017

A community impact statement penned by Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens can be used in the sentencing of Habibullah "Danny" Ahmadi.

The 24-year-old was convicted of second-degree murder in November of last year in the beating death of 75-year-old Sara Ann Widholm, who was attacked while walking on the Ganatchio Trail On Oct. 8, 2017.

Defence lawyer Patricia Brown admitted the mayor's thoughts on the community impact are justified, but took issue with a passage where he wrote, "crimes like the savage beating of Sara Ann just don't happen in the City of Windsor."

She says the claim is inaccurate as a simple google search shows violent crimes against the elderly do happen in the region.

Justice Bruce Thomas sided with Assistant Crown Attorney Renee Puskas who argued Dilkens' comments are as necessary as that of members of the Widholm family.

Dilkens says he meant every word, "I stand by my community impact statement," he said. "When I heard about what happened to Mrs. Widholm on that particular day, I like the rest of the community, was deeply impacted and disturbed by the action."

Dilkens tells AM800 News the extent in which Widholm and her family suffered was unimaginable.

"I've never done this before, but I felt that it was important for me as mayor to submit a statement on behalf of the City of Windsor," he says. "I'll stand by every single word that I put in that letter because they were genuine, authentic and I mean exactly what I said."

Dilkens says Brown is just doing what's best for her client, so he doesn't take the move personally.

"That's what she's paid to do and I respect the legal system," he says. "At the same time, this is a lady that I've never met but the incidents of that particular day impacted me in a profound way and on behalf of the community it was my obligation to submit something to court for their consideration."

Widholm suffered multiple blunt force injuries to her head, which left her in a "persistent vegetative state" for more than 14 months until she died on Dec. 17, 2018.

Justice Thomas ruled the mayor's statement was admissible for the sentencing hearing because it offers, "insight into the impact this offence had on the community."