Matthew Brush sentenced to life in prison for killing pregnant Cassandra Kaake
WARNING: some readers may find details of this story disturbing
Matthew Brush was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 22 years for the brutal killing of Cassandra Kaake, the Windsor, Ont. woman who was seven months pregnant at the time.
Brush, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and arson back in November, broke into Kaake's home on Benjamin Avenue in the city's east end in December 2014.
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Throughout testimony last week, court heard disturbing details of the night Cassandra Kaake was killed. Brush broke into her home intending to steal Kaake's underwear and masturbate, admitting he had a lengthy fetish with women's underwear.
While in the home, Brush was interrupted by Kaake when she returned unexpectedly. He killed her, cut off her fingers to hide DNA evidence and then set her home on fire.
"He chose to save himself from a relative minor offence and — to save himself — he butchered her and her fetus," Justice Bruce Thomas said during sentencing.
Justice not possible, says father
Jeff Durham, who was the father-to-be of Kaake's unborn child, said the sentence does not fit the gruesome crime Brush committed.
"I don't even feel like justice is possible in this situation," he said outside court. "It's hard to quantify justice in 22 years. I don't understand how an outcome like this doesn't leave a terrible taste in everybody's mouth."
Durham launched a lengthy public campaign after Kaake's death to change Canadian laws to include additional punishments for anyone who harms an unborn baby during attacks on pregnant mothers.
He and Kaake were separated when she was killed, but Durham says they were still good friends. They planned to name their baby Molly.
Details from court show Kaake had 45 different injuries, including the gash on her neck where Brush cut her with a knife. After the killing, Brush left the home and hatched his plan to hide evidence.
"He returned with a crude shear and removed her fingers and dumped them in the Detroit River," Thomas explained, saying Kaake's pregnancy was an aggravating factor in his sentencing.
Brush also doused Kaake in gasoline and set the house on fire, before driving around Windsor dumping evidence in various locations.
During their investigation, police found Brush's DNA on a fingertip left behind at the home.
Brush must give a DNA sample for a national database. He was also given a lifetime weapons ban.
Thomas sentenced Brush to five years for the arson charge, but that will be served concurrent with the life sentence. He will be eligible for parole in 2037, at which point he will be 48 years old.