Life Does Not Mean Life Even For Serial Killers


It was a bright day for justice when legislation allowing consecutive sentences for multiple murderers was given royal assent earlier this year.

The prospect of serial killers being eligible for parole after 10 or 25 years, depending on whether it was second-degree or first-degree murder, has grated on Canadians and caused immense anguish for victims’ families.

Fortunately, the federal Conservatives closed that despicable loophole, ending sentence discounts for multiple murderers. The law permits judges to impose consecutive periods of parole ineligibility on people convicted of more than one murder.

So when Joseph Laboucan, 26, was swiftly convicted of first-degree murder Monday — his second murder conviction in four years — I expected Canadian judicial history to be made in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench.

In 2007, Laboucan was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the sadistic rape-murder of 13-year-old Nina Courtepatte, who was lured away from West Edmonton Mall on April 3, 2005.

Two days earlier, Laboucan killed prostitute Ellie May Meyer, 33, after picking her up on 118 Avenue with two friends. He had sex with her in a field, beat her to death and cut off part of her left pinkie finger as a trophy.

Laboucan, I assumed, would be the first serial killer in Canada to be hammered with consecutive sentences. He’s got another 21 years to serve for Courtepatte’s murder before he can apply for parole, so adding another 25-year parole ineligibility period would mean he’d spend 46 years in the clink before being considered for release.

Alas, I was far too optimistic. Even though Laboucan’s most recent murder conviction was handed down Monday, the new legislation doesn’t apply to him.

Why? Because the murders took place before the legislation was passed. And because of another legal technicality: although the law received royal assent in March, it’s still not in effect. The law is to come into force on some future date set by the Governor General. It makes you want to rip your hair out.

Not only must this be demoralizing for the families of Courtepatte and Meyer, it will be a shock to the relatives of all the Alberta women who’ve gone missing (and were presumably murdered) over the years.

Even if a serial killer is caught, he will be eligible for parole after 25 years, no matter how many people he killed.

In Laboucan’s case, he committed two murders for the price of one. Clifford Olson, the poster boy of savagery now dying of cancer, committed 11 murders for the price of one — with the right to apply for parole every two years after he’d spent 25 years in jail.

As former Alberta prosecutor Scott Newark points out, it’s as if all the other victims are of no consequence.

“The way our law was designed so many years ago, nobody … ever really thought through all of that,” he says.

It’s too bad Laboucan couldn’t have been hit with a 46-year sentence, adds Newark. He figures federal justice officials were leery of allowing the new law to apply in previous murders, even if the killers aren’t caught until later. “I refer to it as charter angst,” says Newark.

Laboucan isn’t eligible for parole until he serves 25 years of his latest sentence, says Crown prosecutor Doug Taylor.

“With or without the new parole eligibility requirements, the reality of two life sentences is he will likely be in prison the rest of his life.”

Sorry, but that’s little comfort to those who were hoping for harsher justice for serial killers.

Mindelle Jacobs

Edmonton Sun

Mindelle Jacobs has been a columnist with the Edmonton Sun for more than a decade. She writes on a variety of topics, including crime, immigration, health, social issues and current events of the day. 

 

I agree Ms. Jacobs. Excellent article, I hope that the judges listen!

A little information on Laboucan:

 

Laboucan, who is already serving a life sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Nina Courtepatte, pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder in the death of the sex trade worker back in April 2005. Still, his lawyers did not present any evidence or challenge any Crown exhibits.

Submitted for consideration was testimony from the preliminary hearing, where an eyewitness said she saw Laboucan chasing and repeatedly swinging something at Meyer’s head.

Multiple people also swore the now 26-year-old showed off a severed pinky finger, which the accused told them was a souvenir from one of his victims. DNA later confirmed the body part belonged to the 33-year-old street worker.

In delivering his decision, the judge said he believed the testimony of one youth who said Laboucan got an adrenaline rush from killing Meyer, and wanted to do it again.

RCMP believe just days after Laboucan killed the Edmonton woman and dumped her body in a field, he led Courtepatte to a golf course just outside the city, and committed the second murder.

The Crown says through Courtepatte’s case, they were able to gather key DNA evidence that tied the accused to Meyer’s death.

Whole article here

 

It is such a scary thought that serial killers can be released.

We know that they do not ‘get better’. We can not ‘cure’ them, the only behavior modification that works is death.

How many bodies will court systems allow to pile up before we stop letting serial killers out?

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