The man who pleaded guilty to murdering a Surrey teen in 2014 has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.
Last month, Raymond Caissie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder — nearly three years to the day that 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch's body was discovered near a set of railroad tracks in Newton.
Court previously heard Caissie had cornered and strangled the girl after following her during her walk home from a bus stop.
Before revealing his sentence Friday, the judge called Vermeersch brave for trying to fight back — and called Caissie a predator, a violent and merciless man without a conscience.
Second-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence, so the Crown and defence put forward a joint submission recommending Caissie serve 17 years before being eligible for parole.
The minimum period of parole ineligibility for second-degree murder is 10 years but the judge can lengthen the term.
Defence lawyer Troy Anderson spoke outside court after sentencing.
"The case outlined two broad ranges of second-degree murder sentences: 10 to 15 years and 15 to 20 years. So the judge found this was well within the upper range."
Caissie sat motionless inside the prisoner's box as the sentence was read. When Anderson was asked if his client had any remorse, he answered:
"He pleaded guilty; I think that's the strongest indication of remorse you can have."
Anderson says it's "very unlikely" there will be an appeal.
'The law has no remedy'
In the early '90s, Caissie was convicted of the violent kidnapping and sexual assault of an Abbotsford woman.
He served his entire 22-year prison sentence and near the end was denied parole eight times.
At one point, Caissie, himself, said he wanted to remain incarcerated several more years because he feared he might reoffend.
Surrey RCMP issued a warning at the time of his release, saying he "has maintained a varied pattern of offending, having offended both violently and sexually, in both an opportunistic and impulsive manner."
That was in 2013. Eighteen months later, Vermeersch was discovered dead.
"The tragedy obviously should have been avoided — but it wasn't," said Wally Oppal, a former judge and a former B.C. attorney general.
"The real problem here is that he served all his time, so there's no legal means in which you can keep someone in custody who has already served their time."
Oppal said the only thing that could have — and perhaps should have — been done, was designate Caissie a dangerous offender during his first conviction decades ago.
"A dangerous offender designation means that you're there for an indefinite period of time," he said.
"In other words, you're there forever. You get a review every three years, but the fact is, you're really warehoused and you never really get out."
Caissie will be allowed to apply for parole in 2034.
However, the judge said that given his "abysmal" past, it is "inconceivable" Caissie will ever be let out of prison.
Sentence: Judge accepts Crown & Defence joint submission of 17-year parole eligibility for Raymond Caissie in Serena Vermeersch murder. #CBC— @CBCtanya
With files from Canadian Press