Curt Dagenais, the Saskatchewan man found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for shooting three RCMP officers in 2006, was sentenced Friday to the maximum allowable by law.
A jury convicted Dagenais, 44, of killing constables Marc Bourdages and Robin Cameron at the end of a high-speed chase on July 7, 2006 approximately 30 kilometres east of Spiritwood, Sask. Dagenais was also found guilty of the attempted murder of another officer, Const. Michelle Knopp.
Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench Judge Gerald Allbright had no leeway on the first-degree murder convictions, as the Criminal Code mandates a sentence of life in prison with no opportunity to apply for parole until 25 years have been served.
The attempted murder conviction could have resulted in a lesser sentence, but the judge imposed another life sentence, also with no chance at parole for 25 years.
When asked if he had anything to say, Dagenais repeated his complaints about the RCMP and how officers failed to give him the service he felt he deserved.
"I thought I was doing the right thing by going to the detachment," Dagenais said, referring to events prior to the chase when he was embroiled in a family dispute. "The message sent today is that it was not the right thing."
He did not make any apology, nor did he explicitly accept responsibility for the crimes.
That rankled some, including Rob Clarke, who was the officer in charge of the Spiritwood RCMP detachment at the time of the shootings.
"The one thing I'm very disappointed in is the lack of remorse and accountability ... that Mr. Dagenais has shown," Clarke told reporters after the sentencing was concluded.
Also on the courthouse steps, Dagenais's father, Art, characterized the trial as "criminal."
"He was protecting himself," he told reporters. "What happened in court in the last 10 days is criminal. I mean faking the scene, putting extra bullet holes in the vehicles and covering up other bullet holes. I mean, this has been the biggest crime that has ever hit Saskatchewan of what went through court here."
Curt Dagenais's lawyer, Bill Roe, had argued against the longer sentence for attempted murder.
While Dagenais did not show any emotion as he was sentenced, some observers in the courtroom clapped their hands.
Talking to reporters later, Howard Cameron said he may one day be able to forgive his daughter's killer.
"Eventually there will be a time, it's not today and I don't think it will be tomorrow or next year," Cameron said. "I'll just have to take my time in doing that. I will have to take time to heal. A big part is missing in my life and that is my daughter."
Also outside of court, the officer who survived the shootings told reporters she was pleased with the outcome.
"I'm just happy it's over. That's all," Michelle Knopp said.
The top Mountie for Saskatchewan also spoke to the media about the case on Friday. Assistant Commissioner Dale McGowan, commanding officer of "F" Division, said the deaths of two constables had a profound impact on the force. He also said he was pleased with how the case was handled by RCMP investigators.
"I was very satisfied and very proud of the investigation," McGowan said at a news conference at "F" Division Headquarters in Regina. "It was a true testament of our courage of convictions of our members to provide an investigation that was difficult for them."
During sentencing, the judge also emphasized that the penalties would be served at the same time.
Dagenais will be able to apply for parole on July 18, 2031, although a panel would have to evaluate whether he merited release from prison.
The 2031 date is 25 years from the day Dagenais was taken into custody. He was not granted bail in the time leading up to his trial.