A British Columbian inmate who was convicted of a sexual assault in the 1970s and died in February, has been identified as Stater brothers’ eldest son.
The 81-year-old Stater, of St. John’s, Ont., was found in a St. Lawrence County jail cell on Feb. 2 and died shortly afterward.
He was in prison since March of 2018, after being sentenced to life without parole in a sexual offense case.
The inmate, who has been in custody for almost two decades, had been in the custody of the provincial prison system for more than two decades.
The death was the first in the province for the man who pleaded guilty to sexual assault against a woman, according to CBC News.
His mother said the family is “devastated” and “gutted.”
“He was a very bright, good man, but at the same time, he was a hard man and very loyal to his family,” said Susan Stater.
“He would do anything for them.”
The elder Stater’s son said he has spent time with his father’s family since the 1980s, and has often visited him in jail.
“I don’t know how much time I have spent with him,” Stater said.
“And I don’t think he knows that.”
He said he doesn’t know what the future holds for his father.
“All I know is I’m so sorry,” he said.
The family says Stater had a difficult childhood.
“There were things that happened in his life that were very traumatic and very difficult, and I think he has had a hard time dealing with that.”
Stater was serving a life sentence in prison for the 1977 rape and murder of a 15-year old girl.
His trial in the case was the subject of a long and contentious public debate.
In a letter to the court, Stater pleaded guilty, saying he acted alone in attacking the girl.
He said the girl had tried to break up with him and he then forced himself on her in an “attempt to control her.”
Steter was convicted in 1991 of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to five years in prison.
In 1993, he pleaded guilty and was released on parole, but his parole was revoked in 1995, the Associated Press reported.
The AP reported the Supreme Court of Canada overturned Staters conviction in a 2006 decision that overturned the conviction.
Stater served three years in jail and was required to register as a sex offender.
In 2011, he died of natural causes at the age of 82.
In an interview with CBC News last year, Stettler said he was happy with his life and that he had been “very lucky” to have lived to the ripe old age of 85.
“A lot of things happened in my life that I am very proud of and I am happy with my life,” Stettter said.
But he said he did not know if he would be able to visit his father any time soon.
“It would be a great honor if he could come visit me, but I have no idea when that might be,” Steter said.
Stettner’s mother, Kathleen, said he is remembered for being a “strong and compassionate person.”
“We have had no contact with him for 10 years.
He is a very special person, very wise, a very caring person,” she said.
In his statement to the prison system, Stattler said: “My parents were very supportive of my work as a corrections officer in the prison and the care of the staff.”
The Associated Press has reached out to Stater for comment.