I watched in awe as my Aunt talked about the loss of her boy and the sentence. She didn't cry out, that it was not enough time. She went on to say she will never be over the loss of her son. She didn't condemn Ms. Flett but rather my Auntie said her family is hurting as well.
You can take away a number of things from that. One she showed us what compassion is all about. She demonstrated the true nature of being Humble. She was Magnanimous (as my brother Don described her). Don had called me up and asked if I saw our Aunt on tv. I said I did. He asked did you see how humble and compassionate she was? I said I thought she was so cool. What I meant to say that she was so caring.
Being Magnanimous is about being cool. Being caring, and not bitter. We can embrace bitterness, anger and even hate in a situation like this. No one would blame you. But to overcome that bitterness and to be able to think of others is truly remarkable. I don't know if I could do it. It would take a great effort not to wrap myself in anger and vengeful thinking. Auntie Evelyn is kind. She and my Auntie Fran remind me of my Mom.
I know some people that could forgive Lulonda. A young woman lost her husband that night, and I am not sure if she is able to forgive. Maybe that could come in time. I think it is enough right now, just to not wish her or her family any harm.
"Lulonda Flett has been sentenced to life in prison in connection to the torching of a Winnipeg rooming house that killed five people in July 2011.
Flett was handed five life sentences — one for each case of manslaughter — but they will be served concurrently and she will be eligible for parole in five years.
Two years were knocked off her eligibility wait for time already served.
Flett pleaded guilty in October 2012 and a sentencing hearing took place earlier this year.
On Thursday, the judge said she considered all of Flett's cognitive challenges and difficulties in life. However, she also believed Flett intended to cause harm to two women in the fire, even if she didn't intend the full catastrophic consequences of her actions.
Flett left the courtroom in tears.
Evelyn Laforte’s 56-year-old son, Robert, died in the fire. She said she had mixed emotions about the verdict.
“I realize that nothing can bring my son back,” said Laforte. “So I guess the justice system has done what they can.”
She described Robert as a kind person who never had much in life.
She added she doesn’t think she’ll ever have closure.
“Any mother that loses a child knows the heartache,” said Laforte.
Five people died in the blaze on Austin Street in the city's Point Douglas neighbourhood.
There were eight people in the home at the time, including Flett's sister-in-law, Lynette Harper, who escaped unharmed.
The week before the fire, court records show Flett had been ordered by the courts to stay away from Harper.
Flett had been handed a conditional sentence on assault charges after pleading guilty to participating with another woman in a 2009 attack on Harper.
The judge said she accepted Flett was only trying to scare two women inside, but she said the evidence showed Flett was capable of seeing the risk she was taking. As a result, the judge said, a life sentence was fair and just.
Fire officials have said the blaze likely started near the front entrance, possibly on the veranda, blocking an obvious escape route. The front of the structure was engulfed when firefighters arrived.
If Flett does get parole in five years, she will always be supervised in the community as part of a life sentence."