Manslaughter conviction nets Mississauga man nearly 10 years in prison for Clarington shooting


Published April 18, 2023 at 7:53 pm

A Mississauga man will spend the better part of a decade behind bars for his involvement in the fatal shooting of a man in Clarington during a home invasion.

The man, 33-year-old O’Neal Spalding, pled guilty to manslaughter for the death of Cody James in 2018. According to court documents, James was at his home at 6010 Old Scugog Rd. in the Clarington community of Hampton that fall on Sept. 10.

James had two guests over that afternoon when around 2:20 p.m. he got a knock at the door just before two masked men entered the home. The first to enter James’ home was then 17-year-old Raphael Anthony-Williams who was armed with a 9mm pistol, followed by Spalding. Neither intruder knew James personally or expected him to have company.

When the pair entered the home, James got up off the couch and sidled over to the far side of the room where his shotgun was leaning against the wall. Anthony-Williams continued to move into the house with his pistol and hand in his jacket pocket.

James advanced on the pair with his shotgun leveled at them. The pair scrambled back toward the exit as Spalding tried to help Anthony-Williams pull the pistol from his pocket. Spalding told Anthony-Williams to pull his weapon saying, “Grab that, grab that, grab that. Are you kidding me? Man, what are you doing? Take that out and slap that.” The pair backed out onto the outside landing in front of the door.

As James advanced, telling the pair to “get the f*** out of here,” Anthony-Williams fired his pistol. James fired back. Both men were struck; James was fatally hit in the chest and Anthony-Williams in his left flank. The shotgun blast left Anthony-Williams paraplegic and he now uses a wheelchair. He later pled guilty to second-degree murder.

There was later some debate about whether or not Spalding was also armed. In his sentencing decision Justice Howard Leibovich found, “Putting it all together, it is clear that Mr. Spalding, at the moment he entered the residence, removed something from his pocket. That object looked like a gun, based on the still from the video. The possibility that Mr. Spalding removed something from his pocket at the start of the robbery that looked like a gun, but was not a gun, is simply not realistic.”

However, this weapon was neither fired nor recovered later.

After the exchange of gunfire, Spalding helped Anthony-Williams to a black Dodge Caravan they had parked behind James’ home. One of James’ guests had earlier spotted the van parked in a nearby Bell building, as confirmed by a Bell worker who could not access the parking lot. The day before the shooting the van was recorded using Hwy. 407 to drive to Clarington.

Anthony-Williams lost both his shoes and his mask as Spalding pulled him to the van. Police later used DNA from them to link Anthony-Williams to the shooting. Spalding then drove Anthony-Williams to the Markham Stouffville Hospital on Hwy. 407. During the drive, he discarded Anthony-William’s bloodied clothing along the roadside before reaching the hospital shortly after 3 p.m.

Spalding then went into the hospital lobby, as captured on security cameras, grabbed a wheelchair and used it to bring Anthony-Williams toward the hospital. He passed off the wheelchair to a passerby before getting back in the van and fleeing the area.

Later that evening, Spalding, his wife, and their children took a taxi from Markham to Kitchener despite having access to the van, which was registered in his wife’s name. Spalding returned to his home in Markham on Sept. 15.

Meanwhile the investigation into James’ murder was launched. Police used numerous wiretaps to record Anthony-Williams phone conversations, including descriptions of the murder. Spalding was also tapped and police record conversations regarding their investigation between him and his wife.

During these conversations Spalding advised his wife not to say anything to police. Though he insisted investigators had the wrong person he did later say, “but between me and you, I’ll admit to that. It’s my fault…I’ll take the time five, six years.”

Court later found Spalding was involved in trafficking cocaine and cannabis.

In weighing the Spalding’s sentencing, Leibovich considered both Spalding’s troubled upbringing and the impact James’ death had on his family. Spalding spent much of his youth in Mississauga with a single mother before he moved to the Georgian Bay area. There he encountered significant racism, court heard, before returning to Mississauga to escape it.

There he reconnected with his brother who introduced him to the drug trade. As part of this trade Spalding was shot at age 22 leaving physical and mental scars. In time he came in direct conflict with the law receiving four convictions on various charges such as assault, uttering threats, theft and drug trafficking between 2008 and 2011.

However, following his last brush with the law in 2011, Spalding had cleaned-up his act according to letters of support presented by family to the court. They report he grew into more responsibility in his late twenties, caring for his seven children, forging strong supportive relationships and holding a steady job in the two years before James was killed.

However, James’ death left lasing wounds in his large, tightly knit family with several victim impact statements sharing the abyssal depth of their loss and their resulting mental health struggles.

Leibovich found Spalding’s leadership role in planning and executing the robbery and driving the much younger, unlicensed Anthony-Williams to the home were also significant aggravating factors weighing toward a long sentence.

These and numerous other factors led Leibovich to conclude, “It appeared before this incident that he was doing well in the community was employed and that he had overcome the obstacles from his youth. What triggered his decision to commit this offence and revert to his past criminal ways is unknown. But I find that he can be rehabilitated.”

As a result Spalding receiving a 9.5 year sentence. He received four years of credit for time served since his 2020 arrest, leaving him five and a years still to serve.

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