A Dartmouth man who stabbed his girlfriend to death last year at her Albro Lake Drive apartment complex has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 21 years.
A judge with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia sentenced Christopher Kenneth Hutchinson on Tuesday for the second-degree murder of Tara Lynn Park. He pleaded guilty in February.
In his decision, Justice Felix Cacchione told the court that Hutchinson is "prone to explosive and violent behaviour, and society must be protected."
The 29-year-old man has a violent history, with 71 prior convictions. His lengthy criminal record includes various types of assault, including assaulting police officers with his fists, throwing chairs at them and threatening to kill officers on several occasions.
"The only gap in his record is when he was incarcerated. He's had 30 incidents since remand on June 3," said Cacchione.
"This was a brutal and savage killing. The escalation of violence leads me to conclude the future dangerousness is very high."
The sentence imposed by Cacchione — 21 years before parole eligibility — is higher than what the Crown and defence recommended.
The Crown attorneys had argued Hutchinson shouldn't be eligible for parole for 15 to 17 years, while the defence recommended a 12 to 15-year period before eligibility.
Eric Taylor, a Crown attorney, said the steeper penalty is justified.
"In this case, his lordship Judge Cacchione put a lot of weight on some aspects rather than others and he felt that 21 years was appropriate," Taylor said Tuesday.
"We had asked for less but he was fully entitled to reach the decision he did. It was a well reasoned decision."
Halifax Regional Police were called to a disturbance at an apartment at 117 Albro Lake Rd. around 10:15 p.m. on June 1 after a tenant contacted police because they heard some commotion.
A few minutes later, police discovered Park's body in the stairwell of the small apartment complex.
Violent attack fuelled by jealousy
Court was told Hutchinson's relationship with Park was filled with bouts of jealousy. He was upset by text messages from other men on Park's phone; he had threatened to kill her one week before Park's murder.
Court heard Hutchinson stabbed Park 15 to 16 times with a hunting knife in the scalp, chest, abdomen, back and arms. She had other scrapes and cuts all over her body. Park was also hit repeatedly with a metal bar from a towel rack.
Following the crime, Hutchinson told a witness he didn't feel bad about it and that "She deserved it," court was told.
The 33-year-old woman left behind two young daughters.
"Hutchinson's actions deprived two young children," said Cacchione.
As Hutchinson was escorted out the courtroom, he could be heard muttering to the five sheriffs by his side.
"I'm going to beat your f--king head in," he said.
Cacchione said that was all he needed to hear.
"If I needed any confirmation, that was it," he said.