Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
A moment of temporary relief in an Oshawa courthouse is not enough to bring closure to a gaping hole existing in Anne O’Regan’s life since Jan. 8, 2017.
On that evening, her son Dominik Prusinski, 21, stumbled into the Durham Regional Police building on Centre Street in Oshawa.
Bleeding profusely, Prusinski fell to the floor of the lobby.
He died in hospital hours later. On Aug. 13 of this year, the 19-year-old man accused of causing Prusinski’s death was found guilty of manslaughter.
While O’Regan and members of her family let out a loud cheer at the news, she admits she is no further to feeling any closure regarding her son’s death.
“There is no closure when you lose a child, I really believe that,” O’ Regan told The Oshawa Express. “The pain just keeps continuing till the day you take your last breath.”
During the trial, the accused, who was 17 at the time and cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, admitted to meeting Prusinski under the guise of buying marijuana from him.
However, he intended to steal the pot, and when he attempted to do so, the two became involved in a struggle.
They tumbled down a flight of stairs, and the accused said Prusinski was bleeding. However, he denied causing the wound, and police never located a weapon used in connection to the case.
For O’ Regan, the convicted man’s denial was extremely difficult to deal with.
“This individual did not show any kind of remorse, empathy, or any kind of reaction to what he had done,” she said.
Speaking about the trial, O’Regan says there were “great crown attorneys and detectives” working on her behalf.
“They went beyond and out of their way to solve this case,” she notes.
However, with a sentencing hearing set for September, O’Regan fears the punishment won’t fit the crime.
“Our judicial system really sucks. It’s a complete farce. I hope they upgrade the sentencing to more than [four years, Canada’s minimum sentence for manslaughter],” she says.
While the man criminally responsible for her son’s death will soon be in prison, O’Regan believes the incident will haunt her for the rest of her life.
“My life has been in turmoil since that night.”
After Dominik was killed, O’Regan says her relationship with her husband deteriorated and they will soon be divorced
Over the past two-and-half-years, she’s locked herself away in severe isolation.
“I’ve lost a lot of friends… people I’ve had most of my life, they pretty much abandoned me because they can’t handle me grieving all the time,” O’Regan says.
She adds that the ordeal has wreaked havoc on her health – physically, mentally, and emotionally – and also has had a significant impact on her other children.
O’ Regan says the only thing that keeps her going is working to keep Dominik’s memory alive.
“I don’t want to drag anybody into my life of grief. I’d rather just stay alone the rest of my life, and concentrate on my two other children, and grandchild, I guess,” she says.
She has planted a memorial garden in Dominik’s memory at her home and organized several blood drives in the community as well.
Calling Dominik her “rock,” O’Regan says her son always preached the importance of family, and she’s trying to keep this outlook going.
But she admits she doesn’t see an end to the heartache. “I exist. I’m breathing. That’s it.”