Triple murderer Derek Saretzky wants one count overturned
CALGARY -- The Alberta man who killed a father, his two-year-old daughter and a senior in the Crowsnest Pass in 2015 wants one of his convictions thrown out.
The Alberta Court of Appeal heard arguments Monday in the case of Derek Saretzky, 27, who believes he should be acquitted on one count of first-degree murder for the death of Hanne Meketech, 69.
Saretzky was not in present in the courtroom. He is currently in custody, out of province, serving life sentences. He was also convicted of first-degree murder for the deaths of Terry Blanchette and his two-year-old daughter, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.
Outside court Monday, Saretzky's lawyer, Balfour Der, said his client should have been found not guilty of Meketech’s murder because of a breach of his rights.
“The sole evidence against him was a confession, and that confession was improperly taken by the police," said Der.
"It was a confession taken without telling him about his right to speak to a lawyer, that he should have been told about prior to getting that confession."
Crown prosecutor Christine Rideout argued at the time of the interview, Saretzky would have been well aware of his right to counsel, as he had received those instructions numerous times on previous occasions.
Saretzky confessed to Meketech’s murder six months after he admitted he killed Terry Blanchette, 27, and his little girl.
Saretzky was convicted by a Lethbridge jury in 2017. A judge sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years.
The murders happened in the tight-knit southwestern Alberta community where Saretzky and his victims lived.
Meketch, was Saretzky’s first victim, killed in her home in September 2015.
During the trial, the jury was shown videotaped confessions where Saretzky told police he killed Meketech — who knew his grandparents — in a spur-of-the-moment decision and because he didn’t think anyone cared about her.
Five days later, Blanchette’s body was discovered in his home. His daughter, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, was missing, sparking a massive search.
The trial heard Saretzky snatched Hailey from her crib and took her to a campsite, partially owned by his family, where he choked her with a shoelace. He then drank her blood, ate a piece of her heart and burned her body in a fire pit.
Police quickly identified Saretzky as a suspect. A van, which matched vehicles used by his family’s cleaning company, was seen at Blanchette’s home.
Saretzky told police he was guided by the devil.
Saretzky’s lawyer told three members of the appeal court there were significant changes in his client's health and behaviour after he was arrested, including a suicide attempt.
Saretkzy had initially appealed all three murder convictions but the other two appeals have been abandoned.
"There has to be some solid legal grounds to work from, there were not for those other cases, primarily because he had confessed to family members," said Der.
Der said a sentence appeal on three consecutive life sentences is outstanding, pending the outcome of this hearing.
The appeal board has reserved its decision.