Guy Turcotte sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 17 years

Guy Turcotte has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years for killing his two children.

Crown had asked for 20 years before chance of parole

Quebec father convicted in stabbing deaths of his 2 young children will serve at least 17 years 1:48

Guy Turcotte has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years for killing his two children.

Quebec Superior Court Justice André Vincent handed down the sentence in St-Jérôme this morning.

Last month, Turcotte was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2009 stabbing deaths of his two young children, Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3.

Turcotte's guilty verdict, handed down after seven days of deliberation by an 11-member jury, carries an automatic life sentence.

Vincent said the sentence reflects the nature and gravity of the crimes.

He qualified the crimes as hateful and horrible and said the sentence must reflect society's indignation.

The Crown prosecutor asked that Turcotte serve a minimum of 20 years, while the defence argued he should be eligible to apply for parole after 10 years.

Vincent said the Crown's request was exaggerated and did not correspond with the character of Turcotte, who had no previous convictions and was not considered a risk to society.

As to the defence's requested limit, Vincent said it did not reflect the moral guilt of Turcotte.

Loss will 'never be over,' mother says

Isabelle Gaston, Turcotte's ex-wife and the mother of the murdered children, said the sentence will give him time to ponder his crime.

"I know that from now on he will have work to do … to recognize all the harm he did to my family and to my children," Gaston told CBC News.

"There are a lot of chapters that closed in the day of the verdict. It was important for me to believe in justice and that we are protected when something bad happens," she said.

"But the chapter of the loss of my children will never be over."

Emotional sentencing hearing

Turcotte's sentencing hearing last month became emotional when Gaston delivered a victim impact statement.

She told the court about the pain she has dealt with for the last seven years.

Gaston noted she had endured one trial — after which Turcotte was found not criminally responsible for killing Anne-Sophie and Olivier — and later, the second trial that ultimately ended in his second-degree murder conviction.

Gaston asked her ex-husband to look her in the eyes. She told Turcotte that he had broken her heart, but not her resilience.

During her statement, Turcotte sobbed.

Turcotte later addressed the court. He wiped away his tears as he spoke of his shame.

He told his ex-wife that he can never forgive himself for what happened.

Turcotte's legal team is appealing the guilty verdict.

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