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Disturbing details revealed at convicted killer's sentencing for Meaford man's death

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Warning: This article contains graphic content that may be disturbing to readers.

Matthew McQuarrie pleaded guilty and was handed a life sentence for the murder of Emerson Sprung after the 25-year-old man's remains were found at a Meaford cemetery in May 2020.

Emerson's mother, Tracy Sprung, said the sentence offers bittersweet relief.

"Sure, I want my baby back, but that's not going to happen. But I know [McQuarrie's] not getting out on this side of the iron bars, ever," Sprung said.

McQuarrie represented himself during his trial and was advised by defence lawyer Anthony Bryant, who served as amicus curiae.

In an Agreed Statement of Facts read by the Crown, it was revealed that McQuarrie had invited Sprung to Memorial Park on the night of the murder.

Emerson's remains were discovered three days after he was reported missing, wrapped in a tarp and buried in a shallow grave near Memorial Park, not far from his home. Police found his body with 12 stab wounds to his head, neck, and torso.

The Grey Bruce Ontario Provincial Police investigate in Meaford after human remains are located, Thurs., May 7, 2020. (Roger Klein/CTV News)

"Our family, on some level, right now can begin the healing process," Sprung said. "It's hard. Like, where do you go from here, right? We don't have our Emerson anymore. And he was a wonderful soul."

McQuarrie had initially been on trial in Owen Sound for first-degree murder, but in a surprising twist, he entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder last week, ending a process that was expected to last months.

Court documents indicate McQuarrie took his four-year-old son to Emerson's home to ride an ATV just days before the 25-year-old was reported missing.

The court learned that McQuarrie left his son alone with Emerson for a bit that afternoon, and his child later told him Emerson had inappropriately touched, hit and threatened him. McQuarrie reported the incident to police, but no charges were ever laid.

Soon after, Emerson went missing.

The court heard a week after Emerson disappeared, McQuarrie's cell phone was recovered from a nearby pond and contained pictures of him holding the murder weapon - a knife - which was later found by police along with Emerson's BMX bike and pieces of his blood, hair and teeth on and around a bench at the cemetery.

Several text messages by McQuarrie were presented to the court, including one that read, "I'm going to record him apologizing as I cut his throat."

Tracy Sprung said her son died for no reason. "Finally, it's out there. The allegations [against Emerson] aren't true, so that was great to hear."

Despite his sentence making him eligible for parole after 15 years, Sprung is determined to ensure McQuarrie spends his life in jail.

"I'm going to make sure he stays there, she said. "I'll fight till my dying day to keep him behind bars for life."

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