Wife killer gets life without parole for 10 years

James Gary Urbaniak was sentenced Friday to life without parole 10 years for killing his common-law wife last year.
Jessica Martel shown in a Facebook photo. (Facebook)
James Gary Urbaniak was sentenced Friday to life without parole 10 years for killing his common-law wife last year.

The judge agreed to a joint sentencing submission by Urbaniak's lawyer and the Crown prosecutor.

Urbaniak, 29, strangled Jessica Martel, 27, in her Morinville home north of Edmonton on April 29, 2009 while their three young children were in the house.

"This is a selfish, brutal, immature, pathetic offender," said Crown prosecutor Michelle Doyle during a sentencing hearing Friday morning. "This is a man who killed his wife because she wanted to be free of him. "

"These children watched their hero kill every bit of security that existed in their young lives," she told the courtroom packed with Martel’s friends and family, some who quietly wept.

Urbaniak, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in October 2010, sat in the prisoner's box without reaction.

The Morinville home where James Urbaniak murdered Martel on April 29, 2009. ((CBC))
Doyle called the murder the end result of Urbaniak's "obsessive need to control Jessica" because of his "pathetic jealousy."

Martel had wanted to leave her common-law husband of 10 years, Doyle said.

Martel was severly beaten and strangled. After the attack Urbaniak tried to slash his own throat and wrist.

The couple had three young children under the age of seven at the time. They are now in the care of Martel's mother, Lynne Rosychuk.

"He is a monster" Rosychuk said in her victim impact statement. "I pray that justice will be served."

Before sentencing, Justice Sterling Sanderman asked Urbaniak if he had anything to say.

Urbaniak stood in the prisoner's box and said, "I'd like to apologize. I'm truly sorry for what happened. I loved her a lot. I love my kids and I'm glad you're taking care of them."

After handing down the sentence, Sanderman told Urbaniak to be ashamed of himself.

"This was a prolonged assault that conjures up an image of a caveman attacking some helpless quarry in a frenzy."