Man convicted of murdering fellow Stony Mountain inmate had kidnapped woman, killed another inmate

A Stony Mountain inmate who pleaded guilty in December to murdering a fellow prisoner had a long violent in prison, including murdering another inmate in Alberta, and taking a woman hostage at a New Brunswick prison.

Todd Irving pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to 1st-degree murder in Nolan Thomas's death

Todd Irving was already serving a life sentence for murdering an inmate in Alberta when he killed Nolan Thomas in a cell at Stony Mountain Institution last November, a court heard at his sentencing hearing in December. (CBC)

A Stony Mountain inmate who pleaded guilty in December to murdering a fellow prisoner had a long violent history in prison, including killing another inmate in Alberta and taking a woman hostage at a New Brunswick prison.

Todd Irving was already serving a life sentence for first-degree murder when he and Cory Derdak led fellow Stony Mountain inmate Nolan Randal Thomas into a cell, stabbed him multiple times with prison shanks and bludgeoned him to death over a bad drug deal on Nov. 2, 2018. Derdak, 26, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Thomas's death on Monday when gruesome details of their crime were disclosed to the court. 

At his sentencing hearing on Dec. 20, 2018, the court heard Irving had spent an astonishing amount of time in prison, and told police he felt nothing after the killing.

Now 47 years old, Irving has 26 convictions on his record and estimates that he has only spent about six months outside prison since his first charge at the age of 12, according to an agreed upon statement of facts read in court.

But his most violent crimes began inside prison walls.

In 1992, he was found guilty of attempted murder for attacking an inmate from behind with a baseball bat at the Kingston Penitentiary in Ontario.

While incarcerated in Miramichi, N.B., in 1996, Irving asked a prison secretary if he could use the phone and then took her hostage for four hours.

He later told police that he carefully planned the hostage-taking because he wanted to be transferred.

Convict 'easily resorts to extreme violence': report 

The first-degree murder he was serving time for when Thomas was killed happened in 2004 at a medium-security prison in Alberta.

There, Irving killed an inmate, who he heard had "put out a hit on him," by striking him over the head with a large metal bar he concealed in his pants, the court was told.

At the hearing, Crown prosecutors said Irving had been described in Correctional Service of Canada assessments as a "cold and callous individual, who easily resorts to extreme violence to reach his objectives, which in turn has annihilated any ability to have any sense of remorse or empathy for his victims."

When interviewed by police about Thomas's death, Irving said killing people didn't bother him, the court was told.

Murder planned 'from the beginning' 

According to the agreed upon statement of facts, Thomas was led into a cell by Derdak and Irving, who had put up a curtain on the door so that surveillance cameras couldn't see inside.

A short time later, the cameras captured Derdak and Irving leaving the cell. Both could be seen with blood on their hands, while Derdak also had a substantial amount of blood on his shirt and shoes.

The pair walked up to the guard's kiosk, where they admitted to the killing.

When guards entered the cell, they found Thomas in a pool of his own blood. He was beaten so badly, his skull had cracked open.

At the time, Thomas was serving a six-year prison sentence for robbery. 

At his sentencing hearing, Irving admitted that Thomas's murder was planned out "from the beginning."

"Nolan Thomas was never going to leave that cell alive," he said.

Irving appeared in court at his Dec. 20 sentencing hearing without a lawyer, telling the judge he thought it would be a waste of time and resources.

"Before I even killed this guy, I knew I wasn't going to try to conceal the body, I wasn't going to try to conceal evidence —that I was going to kill him and take my rap for it."

'I am who I am' 

Born in England, Irving came to Canada at a very young age.

He had a difficult childhood, suffering abuse at the hands of his stepfather, who abused alcohol along with his mother, the court was told.

Asked if he had any issues with the facts read out in court, Irving said they weren't exaggerated.

"I am who I am."

Justice Robert Dewar sentenced Irving to a consecutive period of 25 years without parole, meaning he won't be eligible for parole for close to 40 years when he's in his late 80s. 

About the Author

Sarah Petz

Reporter, CBC Manitoba

Sarah Petz is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. She was previously based at CBC New Brunswick. Her career has taken her across three provinces and includes a stint in East Africa. In 2017, she was part of a team of reporters and editors nominated for a National Newspaper Award for a feature on the Port of Saint John in New Brunswick. She can be reached at sarah.petz@cbc.ca.