WINNIPEG – On Monday, Mark Grant will stand trial, for the second time, for the 1984 murder of 13-year-old Candace Derksen.
Derksen disappeared after leaving school Nov. 30, 1984. She was found weeks later bound with twine and frozen to death in a supply shed near her home. Grant wasn’t arrested for her murder until May 2007.
It was years later in 2011 he was convicted of killing the young teen. However, the Manitoba Court of Appeal overturned the conviction in 2013, and that ruling was later upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015.
“I think there is a bit of a disappointment because I think we thought that the first verdict was accurate,” said Wilma Derksen, in an exclusive sit down interview with Global News.
“We thought it was over and we thought there was a conclusion. Then all the sudden to have it all fall apart and then now to go and revisit it… it’s kind of hard to even imagine.”
Wilma, along with her husband Cliff and their two children, are preparing to relive another five-week, second-degree murder trial starting Monday.
“I’m traumatized about the expectation of this trial,” Wilma said. “It’s going to be really tough. The trauma of a trial, the trauma of murder, the trauma of the process, asking the question again… did he do it or didn’t he do it? Which is so important to all of society and it’s also important to us.”
While fighting back tears, Wilma spoke candidly about feeling like she’s in denial about the retrial.
“It triggers us in places that aren’t always happy. There’s nothing wonderful about murder. It’s horrible and it’s taking it’s toll on all of us,” she said.
In the years since the last trial, both parents said they have had a chance to heal and move on. Despite the retrial, they believe it brought them some measure of closure.
“I think that even though it wasn’t closure for the justice system it was closure for us,” Cliff said.
“I think it will try our patience a little bit because we’ve been through this before and we know we have to go through it again.”
While it’s been 32 years since Candace was killed, her memory is still fresh and very vivid in both parents minds.
“In those kinds of memories she’s forever young,” Wilma said. “She’s still 13-years-old, even though now she would be 45. It just seems as if she’ll always be young… her vibrancy, her personality. I’m amazed that after 32 years she is still so alive.”
Monday will be the first time both Cliff and Wilma will see their daughter’s accused killer in court in years.
“There’s going to be that moment when he walks through the door,” Wilma said.
“That’s going to be the time when it starts. Then the story unfolding again and that brings us back to that place. There’s always a sadness when I think of [Mark] Grant. I think of happiness when I think of Candace. I’m horrified when I think of the time of murder, the thought of murder.”
While neither have seen Grant in years, he does creep into their thoughts.
“We do think about Mark,” Cliff said. “This has been 33 years for him to have no decision also. The decisions haven’t stood. Up to this point he hasn’t had to really face the reality of things and I think that’s not good for him either.”
The trial will begin Jan. 16 and is set to last five weeks.