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Derek Saretzky to serve life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years
Published Wednesday, August 9, 2017 6:03AM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 9, 2017 12:07PM MDT
The judge in the Derek Saretzky murder trial has sentenced the southern Alberta man to life with no chance of parole for 75 years for the murders of a two-year-old girl, her father and a Coleman senior in 2015.
Justice W.A. Tilleman read his sentence decision on Wednesday in Lethbridge, saying he agreed with the jury's decision to impose three life sentences on Derek Saretzky before he is allowed to apply for parole.
Saretzky, 24, was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Terry Blanchette, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and Hanne Meketech earlier this year.
Tilleman, in his decision, said that Saretzky's actions caused 'grave injury' to the entire community. He also called him 'dangerous' and said that he's shown no remorse over the crimes.
He also said that the young man has consistently shown no regard for rules of society.
During the sentencing hearing, Tilleman referred to the victim impact statements that were submitted following the guilty verdicts earlier this summer. A number of the statements expressed kindness towards Saretzky's family, who all showed compassion to the victims' families throughout the trial.
Tilleman said each of the murders were considered to be separate events. Saretzky clearly planned each of the murders and had 'days and days' to think about them and abandon them.
The judge finalized his decision, saying the young man would spend the next 75 years in jail for the murders, with an additional five year sentence for the indignity to Hailey's body being served concurrently.
"There's no chance he will ever be free, so the chapter is closed," he told the court.
Upon learning his sentence, Saretzky showed no emotion in response. A number of people in the courtroom, including family and friends of the victims, cried when the sentence was finalized.
By the time Saretzky became eligible for parole, he would be 100 years old.
Each first-degree murder charge carried a life sentence of 25 years with eligibility of parole after that time. However, a 2011 amendment to the Crimnal Code made it possible for that parole ineligibility to be imposed on a consecutive basis.
Following the decision, the Crown thanked the jury and the court for their work during the trial. They also thanked the exhaustive investigative work by the RCMP.
They also thanked Justice Tilleman. "I’d like to commend Justice Tilleman's final words to the community which is that this chapter is now closed and it’s time for the community to heal and put themselves back together again," said Crown prosecutor Photini Papadatou.
Papadatou, that called the killings one of the worst cases Alberta has ever seen, said the community will now be able to move forward after it dealt with the murders and she can't help but be personally touched by the situation.
"We’re all human we do our jobs professionally and within the parameters of our professional obligations and we’re all touched by the work that we do and the people we meet and situations we're dealing with."
Saretzky's defence lawyer Patrick Edgerton said the sentence decision was not entirely unexpected, but it wasn't what Saretzky had been planning on.
"He is processing it right now. He didn't have a great deal to say on it," Edgerton said."He has some reflection to deal with over the next few days."
Edgerton said the situation is hard on any defence lawyer.
"Well, it’s been a long road; it's good to be at the end of it. It’s never a pleasant experience to send someone to a penitentiary and to do so for the rest of their life is difficult but we're done now and it's time to carry on.”
The possibility of an appeal has been left up to his client, Edgerton said. So far, there hasn't been any instructions regarding that.
"It’s ultimately his decision in a case that’s long and complex like this one. There are certainly areas that can be looked at to determine if there’s any merit to it, but it's all based on Mr. Saretzky’s instruction and whether or not he wants to carry on."