Michael Schweitzer sentenced to life in prison
Friends and family members of Nicole Wagler and Michael Schweitzer gathered at the Stratford courthouse Monday to attempt to find some sort of closure in a case that reverberated through their entire community.
“Everyone in Milverton has been victimized by this crime,” Justice Thomas Heeney said before delivering his sentence to Michael Schweitzer.
“This was the senseless slaying of a beautiful 17-year-old girl who had her whole life ahead of her.”
Schweitzer was convicted in January of second-degree murder and assault with a weapon in connection with a double shooting in Milverton in December 2012.
The shooting left 17-year-old Nicole Wagler dead, and Tyler Baker – Schweitzer’s roommate – with serious injuries, scars from which remain visible on his face.
Schweitzer has claimed that he has no memory of the night in question. During his trial, his lawyer suggested that Baker could have been the gunman.
Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence. The only thing left for Heeney to decide was when Schweitzer would be eligible to apply for parole.
Canada’s Criminal Code allows for parole eligibility to be set at any point between 10 and 25 years.
Schweitzer’s lawyer argued for the lightest sentence, pointing out that his client had behaved well while in custody despite suffering from alcoholism.
Calling the shooting “a senseless, unprovoked slaughter,” the Crown countered with a suggestion of 15 years before Schweitzer could apply for parole.
In the end, Heeney decided on 14 years – meaning that with credit for time served since his arrest, Schweitzer could apply for parole in December 2026.
Prior to the sentencing, the court heard from several of Wagler’s loved ones, who explained how their lives had been affected by her death.
Her oldest brother, Mason Wagler, said that more than three years after the shooting, he still has trouble eating and sleeping.
“Everyone tells you it gets better, but that’s a lie,” he said.
“It gets worse.”
Schweitzer also addressed the court, apologizing to his family, Wagler’s family, and Baker for the events of the night.
“Nicole was a wonderful person and I’m so very sorry for how she was treated,” he said.
“Tyler, I’m sorry for the pain you have suffered and continue to suffer.”
Schweitzer’s lawyer said he also had 13 letters backing up Schweitzer’s character, including one from Baker, but declined to read them aloud citing respect for the victims’ families.
Outside court, Schweitzer’s mother said she was proud of her son for standing up and apologizing for his actions.
“All I can really say is … what goes around comes around. I really believe karma will prevail,” said Maxine Schweitzer.
Schweitzer was also sentenced to six years in prison for assault over the shooting of Baker, to be carried out at the same time as his sentence for murder.
Describing his client as “a nice kid who seems to make really dumb decisions,” Millard said Schweitzer is pursuing an appeal.