Edmonton father who killed babies given life sentence, no chance of parole for 17 years

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An Edmonton man who killed two baby girls — including his infant daughter — has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.

Postmedia cannot identify the man due to a publication ban requested by Crown prosecutors meant to anonymize the victims.

The man was led away by sheriffs just after noon Friday, after a two-day sentence hearing in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench.

Justice John Henderson called the man’s crimes, which took place in 2018, “an inexplicable act of extreme violence.”

According to a 24-page agreed statement of facts filed as part of the man’s guilty plea, he was asked to care for the children while their mother met with a support worker. He used an unknown quantity of methamphetamine at some point prior to the killings.

The oldest girl was three, the youngest not yet one.

When the mother returned home, the man refused to let her to see the children, claiming they were sleeping. When she became insistent, he repeatedly struck her with a metal bar. The woman only survived by fighting him off and fleeing the home.

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The woman recalled the man “had an evil look in his eyes and was smiling” during the attacks.

Police later found the girls’ bodies hidden in the home. They had been stabbed multiple times.

The man pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, a count of aggravated assault and a breach of probation (the man had recently been released from jail for assaulting the same woman).

Because second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence, the only issue was parole ineligibility, which runs from 10 to 25 years.

Crown and defence agreed on 17 years in a joint submission.

Prosecutor Carrie-Ann Downey called the crime “brutal” and an “egregious breach of trust.”

“How the children died is graphic, and it is horrific,” she said.

Lawyer Gary Smith, who has known the defendant since he was 10 years old, said his client had a difficult life. He was “shuffled around” between caregivers as a child, and was a victim of “emotional, physical and sexual abuse.” Prior to the killings, he consumed a near-lethal dose of meth.

Smith added at least two of the man’s grandparents attended residential schools.

He argued the biggest mitigating factor in the case was his client’s guilty plea.

“(He) has taken responsibility for his actions, knowing full well he’s facing an automatic life sentence today,” Smith said.

The mother attended court Friday and at one point was so overcome she had to leave the room. The accused “took everything” from her, she said.

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“Domestic violence doesn’t belong behind closed doors,” she wrote. “It shouldn’t be hidden. When it’s hidden, there are horrible results.”

Asked about the publication ban, the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service wrote: “The reasons behind requesting this publication ban falls within prosecutorial discretion, it would be inappropriate to comment on the details.”

“Victims of crime legislation and fundamental prosecutorial ethics require that prosecutors keep family members in homicide cases fully appraised of any significant developments in the case and meet with them regularly to discuss progress and decision making.”

jwakefield@postmedia.com

twitter.com/jonnywakefield

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