There were no second chances for Richard Cater.
The man known as Dick was murdered outside his Palmerston home in March 2019 as he heroically took on a drug-crazed teenager to defend two elderly friends against a ferocious and random attack.
But a second chance for the 82-year-old's killer is just around the corner, both figuratively and perhaps literally.
The murderer will be released from prison in September 2023 after just four-and-a-half years behind bars, following a recent ACT Court of Appeal decision to almost halve the time he was to spend in custody.
This decision has left the Cater family gutted for many reasons, one of which is that, if the killer returns to live with his family, he will soon be just a few hundred metres from Mr Cater's wife of nearly 60 years, Noelene.
When this came up in conversation with The Canberra Times on Wednesday, it was evident this already had Mrs Cater on edge.
"Very nervous. Very nervous indeed," she said when asked how she felt about this.
"I just can't imagine [the killer] coming back into this neighbourhood and into this community.
"I may not see him two streets away, but I'm likely to bump into him in the local shops at any time. What do I do? I just don't like the idea of him being back in this neighbourhood."
The 19-year-old offender, who cannot be named because he was underage at the time of the attack, roamed the streets near his home while "tripping" on LSD that night in 2019.
The "raving and violent marauder", as one judge described him, came across Mr Cater and two of the 82-year-old's friends as they pulled up outside the elderly man's house after a dinner outing.
Yelling death threats and making what were described as "prehistoric monster sounds", the attacker bit Mr Cater's friends and pulled one of their heads forward so hard he fractured the woman's spine.
Mr Cater managed to arm himself with a spade and draw the assailant's attention to himself. This heroic act cost him his life, with the killer managing to overpower him before viciously stomping on his head.
The horrendous nature of the attack has left the tight-knit Cater family stunned the assailant will now walk free from jail so soon.
When the ACT Court of Appeal reduced the custodial portion of the original sentence by four years, three judges spoke of the importance of "individualised justice" and the promotion of rehabilitation for juvenile offenders.
The Caters do not want to deny the killer a second chance.
But one of Mr Cater's sons, Michael, told The Canberra Times he believed people needed to be accountable for their actions.
He expressed fears about the precedent just four-and-a-half years behind bars in this case might set, saying such a term was unlikely to deter others from taking mind-altering drugs and potentially going on a deadly rampage.
Michael Cater also did not think this amount of time in jail was enough of a price for a killer, who had attacked three elderly people, to pay in order to earn a shot at redemption.
"My father is dead. He never got a second chance," he said.
"You've got to expect to be able to drive into your driveway ... and get into your house without being attacked by some drug-crazed kid from up the road."
The ongoing impacts of the incident are innumerable.
Richard Cater has left behind a life partner, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, some of whom he did not live to meet.
These people feel they have been dealt life sentences, much more severe than what was given to the killer, because of the hole the waterskiing advocate's loss has left in them.
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Part of what Michael Cater must now live with, having raced to his parents' home on that fateful night, is the impossible-to-shake image of his badly beaten father in a gutter.
"To see my father lying out there in the state he was, it's pretty shocking, I can tell you," he said.
"I wouldn't wish that on anyone. It's something that will stick in my head for the rest of my life."
Another son, Mark Cater, described the scene as "complete carnage", saying it haunted him and he wished the murderer could be identified in order to warn others about him.
He was particularly disgruntled by the possibility the killer may return to live near his mother, saying he could already see her panicking at the prospect and "counting down the days until he's out and he's just up the road".
Grandson Stuart Cater said the lack of clarity around whether the murderer would indeed be allowed to return to Palmerston was very frustrating.
He, like the other members of the family who spoke to The Canberra Times, believed the laws around juvenile offenders had admirable aims but were perhaps not designed to deal with such heinous crimes as murder.
They also thought the legal system placed too much emphasis on offenders and not enough on victims.
Stuart Cater pointed out, for instance, that they had been able to read victim impact statements at the original sentence hearing.
But when the killer won his appeal, there was no opportunity for them to address the court tasked with resentencing and detail the ongoing effects of the incident.
Ensuring his grandfather still has a voice is important to Stuart Cater, who said the 82-year-old was always the first person to stand up for his family.
Now, all that family can do is hope no one else has to endure what they have.
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