New details in murder of B.C. teen Serena Vermeersch revealed in court
Court hears Vermeersch, 17, slashed her attacker with a knife in self defence before she died in 2014
New details about the killing of a Surrey, B.C., teen have emerged in court, three years after the murder.
Serena Vermeersch, 17, was killed on her way home from an East Newton bus stop on Sept. 15, 2014. Raymond Caissie, then 43, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this month.
During sentencing on Thursday, court heard Caissie had been on the bus with Vermeersch and followed her after she got off that night.
Crown prosectuors said he caught up to her when she took a shortcut, cornered her and strangled her with a strip of fabric torn from his T-shirt.
Court heard Vermeersch tried to defend herself before she died, slashing Caissie with an X-Acto knife she had in her purse. It took 22 stitches to close the gash.
Her mother reported her missing after she didn't return home that night. The following day, the teen's body was found near the railroad tracks in the 14600 block of 66 Avenue.
Crown said "the last few minutes of [Vermeersch's] life would've been terrifying."
Victim impact statements heard in court
Caissie was arrested and charged several days after Vermeersch's body was found. He pleaded guilty on Sept. 14, 2017.
Caissie was released from prison in June 2013 after serving a 22-year prison sentence for a violent sexual assault. When he left prison, Surrey RCMP warned that he was a high-risk, "opportunistic" sex offender moving into the community.
Documents released by the Parole Board of Canada showed Caissie was considered likely to harm or kill someone at the time of his release.
Now 46, Caissie chose not to address the victim's family in court on Thursday, but his lawyer said his client wanted to apologize and take responsibility for what he did.
In a victim impact statement, Vermeersch's mother said: "I don't feel anything for him ... he is dead to me in my mind."
The teen's sister wrote that, three years after the murder, "I'm still scared to go out at night. I don't see that ever changing."
With an automatic life sentence for the second-degree murder charge, Crown and defence are both recommending parole ineligibility of 17-years.
Under the joint submission, Caissie would be allowed to apply for parole in 2031, with credit for time served.
The judge reserved his sentencing decision until Oct. 20.
Friends of Serena Vermeersch's family disappointed judge reserved decision on sentence. They want no parole eligibility for Caissie. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CBC?src=hash">#CBC</a> <a href="https://t.co/gS9r90OQjX">pic.twitter.com/gS9r90OQjX</a>—@CBCtanya
With files from Tanya Fletcher