Brent Parent is not a monster, says his stepdaughter Kaley Suter.
The 26-year-old Langley woman is speaking out to offer people the other side of a man who has been vilified by the media across the country and beyond for what was dubbed ‘a road rage’ killing of Silas O’Brien in March 2008.
“I love my stepdad. He’s been there for me since I was eight years old. Brent is a very loving and thoughtful guy,” said Suter.
She claims that Parent is devastated by what he’s done.
“We are all suffering. Brent is devastated he robbed that boy of his life,” she said. Her whole family is hurting and what took place four years ago on 16 Avenue is still very fresh in all of their minds, she said.
“This is not something you ever get over. I cry about it often.”
Suter said Parent came to live with her after he was arrested for the hit and run death. The horse farm he owned with her mom on 208 Street and 28 Avenue was swarming with media for days.
“Later people shot paintballs at the house and at the horses,” she said. Then Suter’s mother Jill broke up with Parent two weeks after his arrest, ending more than 12 years together. The two had been together since Parent was 25, when he took on a father role to her three girls.
A letter Kaley Suter wrote in support of Parent, along with a letter from her mother and younger sister, were among statements given to the judge at Parent’s sentencing hearing on April 27. Parent was found guilty and will be sentenced on May 10. Both Crown and his lawyer are recommending jail time. The Crown wants Parent to go to jail for eight years and Parent’s lawyer would like to see three.
Suter’s younger sister wrote of a man who attended her ballet recitals and took the girls camping. He paid for her university.
“Brent bought me my first car,” said Kaley. He is still close with them today, even though he has since remarried and is now a father to two more stepdaughters.
He was unable to continue living in Langley, said Suter, because he was recognized everywhere and people would often yell at him when he was out in public. He has now moved to Mission.
His legal fees are through the roof and he’s facing a lawsuit from the O’Brien family, who are seeking $200,000 to $500,000. He’s had to transfer his business to his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, the court learned. He was teaching him the ropes of the heavy mechanic business, before he is sent to jail.
Suter herself suffered with drug addiction for nearly a decade. He was by her side and even paid for her rehab, she said. She’s been clean for just under a year. He has always helped people out, she said. He tried to raise his sister’s son, even trying to adopt him after it was clear his younger sister wasn’t capable, with her addiction and mental health issues.
Parent made it clear in court, through his lawyer, that he didn’t want to use his horrible upbringing as an excuse for what happened. But it’s his past that the courts can’t ignore, argued his lawyer Vince Michael.
He was born to a teenage mom who was with Parent’s abusive, alcoholic father. By the time he was 12, his mom was diagnosed with schizophrenia and began drinking daily, often spending most of the day passed out. He ended up raising his younger sister, until he moved out at 16.
Sadly, just like her mother, his sister got pregnant at 16. Suffering from the same afflictions as her mom, Parent took in her son to live with him along with his three new stepdaughters.
He even sought custody. His sister took the boy back after a few years.
“Very few people are one-dimensional. We are all complex. Clearly he has anger management issues . . . and his driving record (of 64 infractions) is troubling,” said Michael of Parent in court.
“But Brent is far more than the actions that span five minutes on March 13. He is a loyal and caring man.”