Serial Killer Victims' Families in Court
December 11, 2007
NEW WESTMINSTER, British Columbia (AP) — The 15-year-old daughter of a woman murdered by a Canadian pig farmer said her slaying was "like ripping out my heart," in gripping testimony Tuesday before a judge who decided Robert "Willie" Pickton won't be eligible for parole for a minimum of 25 years.
Pickton was convicted Sunday of second-degree murder in the killings of six women and received an automatic life sentence. He could have been eligible for parole in as little as 10 years. Authorities said he butchered the women's' remains and fed them to his pigs.
Pickton still faces 20 more murder charges for the deaths of women, most of them prostitutes and drug addicts from a seedy Vancouver neighborhood. If convicted on all those charges, he would become Canada's worst serial killer. Police are also investigating the cases of almost 40 other missing women.
The families of the victims cheered when Judge James Williams ordered Pickton to serve the maximum penalty allowed by law.
"Mr. Pickton's conduct was murderous and repeatedly so. I cannot know the details of what happened," Williams said. "I do know this: Each of these women were murdered and their remains were dismembered. What happened to them was senseless and despicable.
"Today this court heard from a number of people whose lives have been altered and forever changed by these murders. Mr. Pickton, there is really nothing that I can say to adequately express the revulsion that the community feels about these killings."
The family members had cried and prosecutor Michael Petrie choked up as he read the victim-impact statements at Tuesday's hearing. Prosecutors are pushing for a maximum 25 years in prison before Pickton can seek parole.
Staring directly at Pickton, Lynn Frey read a statement from her granddaughter Brittney, whose mother Marnie Frey, was among the victims. Part of Marnie Frey's jaw bone was found on Pickton's farm.
"Mr. Pickton, why did you hurt my real mother and those other women?" the teenager wrote. "I have to go through each day. I ask myself. 'What would it be like if my real mother were here?' Mr. Pickton, why did you do that?"
"When you took her from me, it was like ripping out my heart."
Karin Joesbury wrote that her daughter Andrea was a "lovely, creative girl who wound up in a freezer, cut into parts."
Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction, but the jury found Pickton guilty of the lesser second-degree murder charges, finding that the killings were not planned.