A Saskatoon judge has sentenced Tyler Hurd to a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years, for killing Cynthia Crampton last year.
A jury found Hurd guilty of first-degree murder Friday, after less than half a day of deliberations.
The 35-year-old had confessed to police that he planned and eventually carried out the killing in June 2016. Hurd told police he hit Crampton in the head several times with a hammer and then strangled her with a towel bar he ripped off her bathroom wall.
Hurd sat relatively motionless after hearing the verdict, much as he did throughout the trial this past week, while Crampton's family reacted emotionally.
Daughters speak out
Victim impact statements were read out in court, beginning with Crampton's daughter Kara Leftley.
She lashed out at Hurd, alternately calling him a "pathetic coward," a "disgusting shell of a human being" and a "deranged psychopath."
"Tyler," she said, addressing the guilty man directly, "You are one of the sickest people I have ever met in my life."
Leftley and her sister Shanda described Crampton as a woman struggling to overcome a drug addiction and mental health problems such as depression and mania.
Shanda Leftley speaking outside of court. She says she wants her mom to be remembered for who she was not the words of the person who murdered her pic.twitter.com/8ADK6ro8ZF— @_chamilton
Shanda said Hurd met her mother during the worst period of her mother's life.
"You may have ended my mother's life," said Shanda, "but you will not end mine. I will remember my mother for who she really was."
Lawyers on both sides had agreed that Hurd murdered 55-year-old mother Cynthia Crampton more than a year ago, but while the Crown said it was a planned, calculated murder deserving of a first-degree murder conviction, the defence maintained Hurd did not plan the murder. As a result, his lawyer argued for a verdict of second-degree murder.
Friday morning, the judge gave instructions to the jury. They began their deliberations at around 11 a.m. CST.
'Knew exactly what he was doing'
Making her final argument to the jury Thursday, Crown prosecutor Sheryl Fillo said there was no question Hurd deserved to be convicted of first-degree murder.
"He knew exactly what he was doing and kept going until he was absolutely sure she was dead," said Fillo.
That planning extended beyond the act of killing, she said.
She argued that Hurd had planned to make it look like Crampton was still alive by gaining access to her phone. The night before, he tried to memorize the password but ultimately failed, she said.
"By his own words, there is only one verdict and that is first-degree murder, because it was planned and deliberate."
'Halfway to Mexico'
Hurd's defence attorney, Morris Bodnar, called for a verdict of second-degree murder.
He said Hurd may have intended to kill Crampton but lacked the intelligence to skilfully plan her murder and his escape.
"He should have been halfway to Mexico," after the killing, Bodnar said.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Hurd stayed in Crampton's small basement suite for two days after her death, with her body locked behind the bathroom door.
"How in his right mind would he have stayed for two or three days … if he had planned a getaway?"
'Cold-blooded premeditated murder'
In his three-hour long confession video to police, Hurd described the killing in detail.
Fillo said she's never heard anyone confess the way Hurd did, saying things like "I'm about to freaking crack someone's skull open and carry out cold-blooded premeditated murder."
Toward the end of this taped confession, Hurd said he suffered from psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder and depression. He claimed he was previously prescribed medication, but hadn't taken the drugs in years.
Hurd also admitted he was a drug user who regularly used crystal meth, fentanyl and other illegal drugs.
Hurd and his girlfriend, Tammy Poffley, were regular visitors to Crampton's basement suite, the trial heard. Crampton would often let the couple stay with her while they were homeless.
The defence lawyer told the courtroom Thursday that Crampton was coming between Hurd and Poffley because Crampton was selling Poffley painkillers.
"She was being destroyed by the drugs being supplied by the deceased and he is going to lose her," said Bodnar.
The lawyers chose decidedly different words to describe what kind of man Hurd is.
Bodnar called his client "a fool," a man whose life "fell apart" after his wife died of cancer.
Fillo was less sympathetic in her description of Hurd.
"This is a person who is very egotistical, centred on himself," she said.
Remorse expressed in regards to victim's family
Speaking to police, Hurd said his only real regret was that Crampton's death was so prolonged. When asked what he would say to Crampton's daughters, he said he was remorseful that he killed their mother.
"I don't feel bad but for [her daughters'] sake, I feel horrible. I feel really bad. Cindy was still somebody's mother, somebody's daughter."
But he said soon afterward that if he had the chance he would do it all over again.
"I was OK with it then, when it was theoretical, and I'm OK with it now," he said.