News / Toronto

Murder of young Toronto brothers an 'attack on the justice system'

Prosecutor called the double execution of Justin Waterman, 18, and Jerome Waterman, 22, an “attack on the justice system,” by Don Johnson, who has been convicted of luring the young men to their deaths.

The deaths of brothers Justin Waterman, left, and Jerome Waterman "destroyed" their family, according to their mother.


The deaths of brothers Justin Waterman, left, and Jerome Waterman "destroyed" their family, according to their mother.

The double execution of two young Toronto men was an “attack on the justice system,” a prosecutor said at the sentencing hearing Wednesday of the man convicted of luring them to their death and pulling the trigger.

Justin Waterman, 18, and Jerome Waterman, 22, were shot to death in a North York parking garage stairwell on Feb. 20, 2012.

Last week, a Superior Court jury found that Don Johnson was responsible and guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.

The Crown’s theory in the case was that Johnson killed the brothers, whom he knew, because Justin “breached the code of silence,” by sharing information with police that implicated Johnson in a crime.

“This is an attack on the justice system and an assault on members of the community who wish to speak to the police about criminal offences with impunity,” Crown attorney Sheila Cressman told court.

“On behalf of the Crown we can only hope that a message is sent to individuals who hold criminal values that our justice system will not tolerate violence towards people who speak to the police.”

The boys’ mother, Dina Renaud, fought to preserve her composure as she recalled the horror of learning from police that her two sons had been murdered.

“I hit the ground, I hit the ground so hard that my nose started bleeding,” Renaud, said reading her victim impact statement from the witness box.

With tearful family members looking on, Renaud described the devastating effects of her sons’ deaths on the family. “Losing Jerome and Justin destroyed us,” she said, adding she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Making things even more anguishing was enduring two murder trials. A hung jury in 2015 forced a mistrial.

“Having to live this twice was a reopening of my wounds.”

Superior Court Justice Brian O’Marra, noting that Jerome had just become a father days before his murder, sentenced Johnson to two mandatory life sentences, to be served concurrently, with no parole eligibility for 25 years. The prosecution did not ask that the sentences be served consecutively.

Johnson committed the killings when he was 18.

Asked if he wanted to address the court, Johnson spoke some words in Hebrew, then added “God bless everyone. It’s a crazy world we live in and crazy things go on. And I’d like to say God bless everyone in this room and hopefully good things happen.” Many of his family members were also present.

Outside the courtroom, the victims’ family hugged and thanked investigators, Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga and Det. Paul Worden. Renaud said she was deeply indebted to the prosecutors and police “for listening to my family.”

Worden said the two trials has been a “long haul” but the family “finally got the justice they’ve been seeking.”

The verdict shows there is a consequence for retribution killings.

“Mr. Johnson didn’t get away with it. He’s now going to be serving 25 years for his crime, that’s the only thing we have left to hang our hat on for an upside because the two young men have lost their lives.”

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