Convicted killer David Folker, the former Nova Scotia man found guilty of second-degree murder in the July 2010 death of his girlfriend Ann Marie Shirran, will be in prison for at least 15 years, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Folker will not be eligible to apply for parole until 2028, said Justice Wayne Dymond, who said his decision in sentencing was influenced by a lack of remorse showed for his girlfriend's remains.
Folker dumped Shirran's body in a remote area on Newfoundland's Southern Shore shortly after he killed her in the couple's apartment in the Kilbride neighbourhood of St. John's.
Dymond said because Folker lied to authorities, Shirran's remains were widely scattered by scavenging animals.
A jury found Folker, 43, who had initially expressed his innocence in Shirran's death, guilty in November.
The second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence.
The Crown argued that Folker should not have been eligible to apply for parole for at least 18 years. The defence, though, wanted parole eligibility to fall between 12 and 14 years.
The court was told that Shirran,32, suffered enormous trauma to both sides of her head, and died instantly. The Crown argued that Folker kicked Shirran violently in the head.
Shirran had decided to leave partner
Evidence presented at the trial showed that Shirran had decided to leave Folker, and to care for the couple's young son on her own.
After he killed Shirran, Folker put her body in a car and strapped their son in a car seat. He drove far south to a camping area outside Cappahayden, where he dumped her remains in a remote area.
Folker was also convicted of performing an indignity to a human body. He was sentenced to three and a half years for that crime, which will be served concurrently with his murder sentence.
Parts of her skeleton were discovered weeks later. Court was told that scavenging animals had taken away some of her remains.
Dymond, who also sentenced Folker to a lifetime ban on owning weapons and explosives, told Folker to reflect on his fate.
"Mr. Folker, you will be in your late 50s before you will be eligible for parole," Dymond said.
"Whether you will be successful will now depend on how you conduct yourself. You will have time to reflect on what you have done, and hopefully you will do something to alleviate the grief and pain you have caused both families in this tragic case."
Anguish expressed in victim impact statements
In searing victim impact statements read in court two weeks ago, Shirran's family members said they will never recover from her murder.
"The images of Ann Marie's remains are etched in my brain, and will go with me to the grave," wrote Jon Baggs, Shirran's father.
"Losing a child is this mother's worst nightmare. The wound in my heart lies open, gaping, seeping," wrote Diane Baggs, her mother. "I will never see her, hear her voice, or touch her again."
"My anger is black and directed at David Folker," said Dana Harrell, Shirran's brother, who told the court that her death has caused enormous upheaval in his own life, including the loss of his marriage and several jobs.
Dymond's sentencing decision can be read below.