'Crimes of such horrendous violence diminish us all,' says judge in sentencing triple murderer

For killing three friends and sparking "outrage, fear and darkness" in his community, Austin Vielle has been sentenced in Lethbridge to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.

Clarissa English was stabbed to death in 2015 alongside her brother Dakota English and boyfriend Kyle Devine

From left to right, Clarissa English, her brother Dakota English and her boyfriend Kyle Devine had just moved into a Lethbridge apartment together when they were stabbed to death. Austin Vielle will be sentenced Tuesday for three counts of second-degree murder. (

For killing three friends and sparking "outrage, fear and darkness" in his community, Austin Vielle has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.

"These deaths have had a profound impact on many people," said Justice Rodney Jerke as he sentenced Vielle Tuesday afternoon.

"Crimes of such horrendous violence diminish us all."

On Monday, Vielle, 24, pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder for fatally stabbing Kyle Devine, 27, his girlfriend Clarissa English, 24, and her brother Dakota English, 18, in a Lethbridge home in 2015.

"Nothing I can do will remove the pain that any of you are enduring," Jerke said to the victims' families. "Healing must come from other places."

The three were found dead in the Lethbridge townhouse they shared as roommates in April 2015. The victims had been stabbed a total of 244 times, which prosecutor Vaughan Hartigan described as a "frenzy of violence."

Five knives and a meat cleaver were recovered by investigators following the attack. 

Forensic evidence confirmed Vielle's DNA at the townhouse, and DNA from all three victims was at Vielle's home and on his seized clothing.

The prosecution thanked Lethbridge police for an "excellent investigation" that "very quickly solved this horrible case."

Outside the courthouse, family members who sat through the gruesome details on Monday expressed relief that the court process was over.

Laurie English lost her son and daughter to murder in 2015. Now that the killer has been sentenced, she's ready to start healing. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

"My life's been completely on hold for almost three years. Now I need to start praying and building up my life again," said Laurie English, the mother of two of the victims.

Vielle had been close friends with all three, and in court he expressed a wish to one day reconcile with his victims' families.

Laurie English left the door open to that possibility.

"Maybe someday. Not at this moment, not any time soon but maybe some day down the road."

From left to right, prosecutors Bruce Ainscough and Vaughan Hartigan, and defence lawyers Robin McIntyre and Tonii Roulston. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Vielle was so drunk at the time of the murders he doesn't remember why he committed such a vicious act of violence, leaving everyone involved with lingering questions.

"That's difficult for us in general as human beings," said prosecutor Vaughan Hartigan. "I'm afraid we're just going to be left without an answer to that question as will probably Mr. Vielle himself."

"The moment we hate someone is the moment we become that same person," said Ian Devine, Kevin's brother. "Forgiveness can come but it will take time."

Several members of the English family struggled through emotions to read victim impact statements on Monday, recounting the "wicked nightmare" they've lived since losing the two siblings.

'I saw tears in his eyes'

In a statement read in the Lethbridge courtroom by defence lawyer Tonii Roulston, the killer expressed regret and apologized to his victims' families. 

"Although he may not have shown it and he may have been a bit stoic, he was very emotional. I saw tears in his eyes," said Roulston outside the courthouse after her client was sentenced.

The apology was something most of the family members, like Kristi Devine, were hoping for.

Kristi is married to Allen Devine and is described as Kyle's mother, especially since he lost his own to homicide more than a decade ago.

"He should immediately begin educating himself about toxic masculinity and anger management," Kristi said of Vielle.

"Prison will not be easy nor should it be, but he should use the time wisely."


Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at or follow her on Twitter.