Teen to be sentenced in May for deadly La Loche mass shooting

The La Loche teen responsible for a deadly mass shooting that left four people dead and wounded seven others will be sentenced on May 7, after appearing by video in court at Meadow Lake on Friday.

Placement report ordered to determine if teen should go to penitentiary or psychiatric centre

Members of the RCMP stand outside the La Loche Community School in La Loche, Sask. Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The teen responsible for a 2016 mass shooting in La Loche, Sask. ,that left four people dead and wounded seven others will be sentenced on May 8, after appearing by video in a Meadow Lake court on Friday.

The teen faces life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder, second-degree murder and attempted murder, and likely won't be eligible for parole for 10 years after a judge decided last month he would be sentenced as adult.

The killer was 17 at the time of the shootings and still cannot be named because of a publication ban.

Aaron Fox, defence lawyer for the teen, says his client was prepared to leave Kilburn Hall, a youth custody facility in Saskatoon, last month after the judge decided he would be sentenced as an adult.

"He's anxious to move on to the next step. Everybody is," he said. 

Judge Janet McIvor ordered a placement report, to determine whether the teen should service his sentence at the Prince Albert Penitentiary or the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon. It will likely take five weeks for the report to be prepared, court heard, after which the teen will be sentenced.

Fox said he hopes the judge will recommend that the teen be sent to the Regional Psychiatric Centre once he's officially sentenced.

The shooter, wearing a bulletproof vest, was escorted under armed guard to an RCMP van after a court hearing in February. (Don Somers/CBC)

In October 2016, the teen pleaded guilty in Meadow Lake provincial court to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder in connection with the January 2016 deaths of 35-year-old teacher Adam Wood, 21-year-old teacher's assistant Marie Janvier, and teenagers Drayden and Dayne Fontaine, and the wounding of seven other people.

After a lengthy sentencing hearing that stretched out over three separate weeks last year, McIvor said prosecutors proved that the teen should be sentenced as adult for his crimes.

"This young person has demonstrated planning, resolve, forethought," she said last month in a La Loche provincial court.

She said the teen planned the shooting to a "very sophisticated" degree, despite having a lower IQ and being on the spectrum for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Media locked out of hearing in La Loche

When McIvor announced her decision to sentence the teen as an adult last month, journalists and some members of the public were locked out the courtroom for much of the hearing.

At the time, McIvor said through a spokesperson that she was not aware of what had happened "until the decision was complete" and that she was "extremely dismayed" when she learned about it.

The RCMP also denied locking any doors at the courthouse.

It can never be emphasized enough how important it is for the media to have free and open access to court proceedings.- Judge Janet McIvor

In court on Friday, McIvor said she was glad to see journalists present, and that she felt she spoke for every judge — not only in the province, but across the country — in saying that she takes the principle of open courts seriously. 

"It can never be emphasized enough how important it is for the media to have free and open access to court proceedings," she said.

With files from Charles Hamilton