Danny Van Oosten had a rocky 28-year marriage before he killed his wife last summer.

On July 17, 2016 police were called to the apartment Van Oosten, 57, was sharing with his 54-year-old wife Lisa Charmaine Van Oosten in St. Jean Baptiste, Man., about 70 kilometres south of Winnipeg.

Officers found Van Oosten outside smoking a cigarette.

He gave the officers keys to the apartment and told them where to find his wife, according to an agreed upon statement of facts read in a Winnipeg courtroom on Thursday morning where Van Oosten was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.

Her body was under a blanket on the bedroom floor.

Van Oosten entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder on May 10, before a preliminary hearing, so his family and friends would not have to testify and be further traumatized, court heard.  

The Van Oosten marriage was tumultuous and the relationship had been off and on for years, but the couple had recently reunited.

When Van Oosten moved into his wife's St. Jean Baptiste apartment, court heard that their daughter told him, "This isn't going to work; you guys aren't good for each other."

Court heard how neighbours told RCMP they could hear the couple fighting on the night of the murder, said Crown attorney Terry McComb. Van Oosten was angry and told his wife, "What the heck. Somebody played with my phone." Another neighbour heard her yelling, "Get out of my house. I don't trust you anymore."

Van Oosten "lost control," his lawyer said.

A relative stopped by afterward but Van Oosten said his wife had left following an argument, saying she had been looking at Facebook on his phone and saw some old photos he should have deleted.

'Strangulation in itself is an intimate act.' - Terry McComb, Crown attorney

Following the incident, Van Oosten was also texting and messaging on Facebook with his mother. Court heard how Van Oosten texted that he "started choking Lisa and could not quit." His mother called 911 and told them she was worried Van Oosten might take his own life.

When officers arrived, Van Oosten told them he had ingested a bunch of pills and he was brought to the hospital. While there, Van Oosten told a doctor he had killed his wife, court heard.

He had already texted his mother that he expected to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

McComb said that while Van Oosten had taken responsibility by submitting a guilty plea without a preliminary hearing, "nothing can be done to return Lisa Van Oosten to her family and her friends."

"Strangulation in itself is an intimate act," she said.

"It entails looking a person in the face and taking their life from them while they struggle to live. This act is one that has a high moral culpability."

Danny Van Oosten's life has permanently changed and he knows how he has affected his family and friends, his lawyer said.

"He lost control and now he's lost contact with his children, and may have permanently lost them," his lawyer said.