Connie Wolfleg sat in a booth at a Morinville restaurant describing a week of unbearable pain.
With her face buried in her arms, she sobbed. Her voice broke and she said: “These girls were my world. I loved them with all my heart.”
Her granddaughters were murdered and her son is accused of killing them.
On Dec. 5, three-year-old Mackenzie Petawaysin and seven-month-old Mary Lafleche-Petawaysin were stabbed to death and left under a pile of household items.
Police responded after a domestic violence complaint was filed.
An undated photo of Mary Lafleche Petawaysin (in the pink shirt) and Mackenzie Petawaysin (in the red shirt).
Despite the fact that police say only Mary was her granddaughter, Wolfleg says her son fathered both of the girls.
Ashton Lafleche, 29, was discovered naked in a garage a few blocks away from the apartment where the children’s bodies were found. He was arrested and faces two counts of second-degree murder. He’s also accused of assaulting the girls’ mother, Tamara Petawaysin.
Through her grief, Wolfleg is adamant that her son did not commit murder.
She said that night she received a phone call from Lafleche after he had been arrested.
“He was crying and he said: ‘Mom, they came here and they killed my babies. That’s why I beat up Tamara.’ And I said: ‘No. Don’t say that. Don’t say that.’”
Watch below: The mother of a man accused of killing two children in Edmonton says her son denies the charges. Fletcher Kent reports.
Wolfleg couldn’t say precisely who “they” were. But she believes her son.
“I want people to know how he really is. He’s not that person. And I know he didn’t kill those girls. They made my son out to be an animal and he’s not. I know my son. I raised my son. I know how he is.”
Ashton Brian Lafleche, 29, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of two children on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.
This isn’t the first time Lafleche has had run-ins with the law.
Court records indicate he has been arrested and charged on nine occasions.
His convictions include assault, assaulting a peace officer, uttering threats, theft under $5,000 and multiple breaches of conditions.
In addition to his current murder and assault charges connected to the deaths of the Petawaysin girls, he has been ordered to stand trial on a robbery charge and two breach of probation counts.
A no-contact order was also in place preventing Lafleche from being around Petawaysin.
Wolfleg says her son was released from the Fort Saskatchewan jail at the end of November and told her he wanted to change.
“He said: ‘Mom, I don’t want this life anymore. These drugs and stuff. I want to get back into my culture.’”
Wolfleg said despite the no-contact order, Lafleche planned to go see his children. He wanted to return to Morinville after Christmas and enter an addictions treatment center.
Wolfleg helped her son get a ride into Edmonton to Petawaysin’s apartment and she says she went inside with her son.
That was the last time she saw Mackenzie and Mary. The memory still haunts her. As she was getting ready to leave, she says Mackenzie spoke to her.
“She looked at me: ‘Kookum, don’t go. Kookum, stay with me.’ That look, right? I should’ve stayed,” said Wolfleg. “I should’ve stayed. Maybe this wouldn’t have happened.”
Wolfleg says her son continues to be threatened while in the remand centre. She worries about his safety and urges people to not rush to judgment.
“It’s not for anybody to judge. It’s not for them to judge. It’s for the creator to judge,” said Wolfleg.
The courts will also pass judgment. Lafleche will make his next appearance to answer to the murder and assault charges on Dec. 21.
Watch: A 29-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of two young girls in Edmonton and is also accused of assaulting the girls’ mother. Kent Morrison reports. (Dec. 7)
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