Edmonton

Mark Lindsay to serve life sentence with no chance of parole for 16 years

Mark Lindsay has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 16 years in the horrific 2011 killing of his former girlfriend, Dana Turner.

'Why can't we take a plane to heaven to see our mom?'

Mark Lindsay, 29, was given a life sentence Thursday for the second-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend, Dana Turner. (Supplied )

Mark Lindsay, the son of a former Edmonton police chief, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 16 years in the horrific 2011 killing of his former girlfriend, Dana Turner.

The sentence was handed down Thursday in a Red Deer courtroom.

Lindsay sobbed in the prisoner's box as he listened to victim impact statements read aloud by members of Turner's family, including her mother and her sister.

Lindsay was convicted earlier this year of second-degree murder. The conviction carries an automatic life sentence.

The Crown and defence presented a joint recommendation that Lindsay serve 16 years in prison before he can apply for parole.

"I am satisfied 16 years of parole ineligibility is appropriate," said Court of Queen's Bench Justice Eldon Simpson.

Lindsay, the son of former Edmonton police chief John Lindsay, admitted to RCMP in a videotaped interview that after he and Turner smoked crack cocaine in a rental car, he stabbed the 31-year old in both eyes with a pencil.

To make sure she was dead he strangled her with a shoelace, then ran over her head with the car.

"It was senseless. It was brutal, " prosecutor Bina Border told court Thursday.

"There's absolutely no answer given to the family for why it occurred or when death occurred.  There's been absolutely no expression of remorse."

The court heard a series of heart-wrenching victim impact statements.

Paula Turner, Dana Turner's sister, is now raising the two youngest of her sister's three sons.

"I love being a mother to Dana's sons," she said, "but there are many challenges … that most mothers don't have to face. These little boys have questions that little boys should never have to ask, like, 'Where is my mom?, Why did my mom die?, and Why can't we take a plane to heaven to see our mom, Dana?' "

'This is now my life,' mom says

The victim's mother, Wendy Yurko, said she is haunted by her daughter's death. 

"Now I have a picture in my head that just won't go away and won't until I die," Yurko said.

"My angel who did not need glasses had pencils rammed through her eyes into her brain. Screaming, she was strangled … Her murderer not only blinded her, cut off her ability to breathe, he ran over her body twice to make sure that she was dead. This is now my life."

Court heard that a year after Turner's death, one of her sons took a helicopter ride. Five years old at the time, he broke his grandfather's heart with something he said.

"Poppy," the boy said, "I'm going to ask the helicopter pilot to go right on up into heaven so I can give my mom a kiss."

'I don't remember her voice'

Turner's oldest son Ethan is now 14. He wasn't in the courtroom but his aunt read his victim impact statement.

"I'm probably the only one who will have any memories of my mom," Ethan wrote. But, he said, "I don't remember her voice.
 
"I do remember my mom was a forgiving and loving person and she wanted her sons to be the same way.

"She would want me to forgive Mark Lindsay and maybe even pity him. So I do. To honour her.

"I forgive Mr. Lindsay."

About the Author

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston