KITCHENER, Ont. - Parole eligibility was set at 17 years Thursday for a troubled, brooding man who savagely murdered a Kitchener senior while he was delivering Christmas cards to his neighbours two years ago.
Trevor LaPierre, 24, pleaded guilty in Superior Court earlier this week to second-degree murder for stabbing Hunter Brown more than 40 times in the face and head with a hunting knife.
LaPierre got an automatic life sentence and won't be eligible for parole consideration until Dec. 18, 2024 - 17 years after he was arrested for the random attack that shocked the community.
"This killing was totally senseless," Justice Steve Glithero said. "There was absolutely no reason advanced for him wanting to do what he did ... He didn't even know the victim."
LaPierre had a history of psychiatric treatment - with four hospital admissions in 16 months leading up to the Dec. 15, 2007, slaying - and claimed he was compelled to kill by the devil to save his soul.
But two psychiatrists concluded that LaPierre likely doesn't have a major mental illness and faked or exaggerated symptoms such as hearing voices from hell both before and after the murder.
They said he knew what he was doing was wrong and should be found criminally responsible for his actions, leading to the guilty plea.
The psychiatrists explained the savage murder - plus a failed, feeble attempt to kill another man with his bare hands two days later - as the result of LaPierre's self-loathing, alienation, hatred of society and "obsessive rumination" on his lot in life.
Defence lawyer Brennan Smart argued LaPierre is still an extremely sick man despite that finding, saying a serious mental "disorder" was the only plausible reason for his crimes.
Smart urged parole eligibility after just 10 years, the minimum under law.
Glithero agreed with Crown prosecutor Karey Katzsch, however, that LaPierre is to blame for the fact he has never been properly diagnosed or treated.
As a result, Glithero said, he remains a danger from which the public must be protected.
He also cited the "depraved" nature of the afternoon murder in a quiet suburban community as an aggravating factor in the case.
"There was unnecessary mutilation done long after the victim was lying motionless," Glithero said.
LaPierre apologized briefly in court this week, saying he wished Brown - a respected family man and retired Bell Canada manager - had been able to see his three grandchildren grow up.
But the judge noted LaPierre showed little remorse with psychiatrists or after confessing to the police and said he is "skeptical" he is sorry even now.
Brown's widow, Beverley, sat in the front row of the courtroom with the couple's two children and other relatives, sticking her fingers in her ears as Glithero recounted grisly details of the killing.
"Dad's murder was senseless," Brown's son, Mike, said after the decision. "He was priceless to us. How do you set a number of years of incarceration as compensation for that?"
LaPierre sat rocking in the prisoner's box through much of the ruling, occasionally shaking his head.
His mother, Cindy, said she is angry and frustrated after repeatedly trying to get LaPierre psychiatric help.
She said she has no doubt he is a schizophrenic who should have remained in hospital, instead of being released each time after a few days or weeks - including once after she stopped him from going out with a knife to "kill Christians."
"Hunter Brown did not need to die," she said. "Trevor need not have gone through with what his hallucinations and psychosis were telling him to do."
Glithero recommended LaPierre go to a Kingston facility for inmates with mental health issues for diagnosis and treatment of "whatever his mental health condition may turn out to be."