Dustin Paul's native heritage not enough to reduce murder

Sixteen years before parole eligibility is not an unreasonable sentence for a man who fatally shot three others in the face and wounded two more — as one of the victims begged for his life.

B.C. Court of Appeal says 16 years before parole justified in Penticton, B.C. triple-murder case

Dustin Paul, seen here in a photo taken before the 2004 shootings, must serve 16 years before becoming eligible for parole. The B.C. Court of Appeal has rejected argument's Paul's aboriginal status wasn't taken into account, given the brutality of the crime. (CP)

Sixteen years before parole eligibility is not an unreasonable sentence for a man who fatally shot three others in the face and wounded two more — as one of the victims begged for his life.

Three judges of the B.C. Court of Appeal have issued that unanimous ruling in the case of Dustin Paul, who is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder.

Paul was convicted in April 2007, more than two years after the slayings during a drug- and alcohol-fuelled bush party in October 2004 on the Penticton Indian Reserve.

The 38-year-old argued the trial judge did not adequately weigh his aboriginal background and asked that B.C.'s highest court accept a Gladue Report, which requires consideration of cultural impacts during sentencing.

The judges allowed the report, but say the original sentence and parole limitation is not unfit, given the gravity of the crime.

Court heard Paul was in a transient psychotic state when he shot all five people with a semi-automatic handgun, including one man who pleaded for mercy but was hit twice and survived only by pretending to be dead.