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'I love you forever': Passenger pleads guilty in hit-and-run death of Calgary officer

2021120814124-e965122308af822faab32713b067bd3b4293d3a81b310c7227d1363d55ed567e

CALGARY — The wife of a police officer killed in a hit and run says she lost her love and best friend at what should have been the happiest time in their lives. 

Chelsea Goedhart's victim impact statement delivered in court said she was 15 weeks pregnant and they were looking forward to the birth of their first child when her husband died. 

A jury trial for Amir Abdulrahmen was to begin this week on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett. Abdulrahman, who is 20 and one of two people charged in Harnett's death, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a lesser charge of manslaughter. 

Police have said Harnett, 37, tried to stop an SUV on the evening of Dec. 31, 2020, when he noticed its licence plate didn't match its registration. He was hit and dragged before he fell and was struck by another car. 

Abdulrahman was a passenger in the SUV. 

"I lost the love of my life, my best friend, my travel partner, my confidante, my steady anchor, my cheerleader and my companion and the parent of our child," Goedhart said in the statement. 

"Because of the criminal actions of Mr. Abdulrahman, the joy of my pregnancy was stolen. We were never going to get to be a family." 

Goedhart said being a single parent is difficult and her child will never know his father. 

"We remain alone. At the end of the day, there is no one coming through the door. My son's innocence was taken before he was born." 

Harnett's mother said her son was a man on a mission and wanted to be a police officer. 

"I love you forever, and as long as I'm here, your very proud mother I'll be," Valerie Harnett said. 

She addressed Abdulrahman in the prisoner's box. 

"I sincerely hope that you will take this time to reflect on your life and your future and take positive, proactive steps … to help you move forward and to help you make wiser and better choices," she said. 

"I wish you very well on that journey."

With Harnett's family out of the room, court played video of the officer being dragged as the vehicle sped off. He yelled, "Stop the car" several times before he fell away. 

Court heard that Abdulrahman pulled at the steering wheel a couple of times to help the vehicle get away. 

A teen who was the alleged driver is also charged with first-degree murder, but cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. His trial is to begin Jan. 31.

Crown attorney Mike Ewenson asked Court of Queen's Bench Justice Robert Hall to sentence Abdulrahmen to between eight and nine years in prison. The victim impact statements show Harnett's death affected the entire community, Ewenson said. 

"They are powerful. They speak to a devastating loss. It affected the city as a whole with an outpouring of grief." 

Ewenson said Abdulrahman's actions show a lack of compassion. 

"When Sgt. Harnett's grip finally failed and he fell to the road and was struck by the oncoming vehicle, Mr. Abdulrahman was … heading off into the night," he said. "He left Sgt. Harnett to die on the cold hard pavement of Falconridge Drive and he did nothing to assist. 

"He acted in pure self-interest without an ounce of compassion." 

Abdulrahman's lawyer recommended a two-year sentence with two years of probation. He said the first year of probation could be house arrest and the second year could include a curfew.

"This sentence will also deter, denounce my client's activities. It will permit and aid in his rehabilitation, which is important for youthful offenders," said Balfour Der.

Abdulrahman apologized to everyone who has suffered.

"I know there are no words, no actions that will ease the pain you've all been put through. But I owe you, at the very least, an apology," he said.

"I can only hope that somewhere in your hearts you'll be able to forgive me."

Abdulrahman also addressed Harnett's widow and said he's sorry she lost her husband so soon and that her son would have to grow up without his father.

"I know this is extremely hard on you and just the thought that I had anything to do with it makes me sick," he said.

"The loss of a loved one is one of the most hard things to go through. I don't wish it on anybody and I'm sorry for every tear that you (have) shed."

Abdulrahman is to be sentenced Jan. 28.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2021. 

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had Amir Abdulrahman's age as 19.

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