Manitoba

Traigo Andretti pleads guilty in murder of Myrna Letandre

A man already serving a life sentence for killing and dismembering his wife pleaded guilty today to the murder of Myrna Letandre, whose remains were found in a Winnipeg rooming house in 2013 after she went missing years earlier.

WARNING: Story contains graphic details

Traigo Andretti pleads guilty in murder of Myrna Letandre

7 years ago
Duration 2:09
A man already serving a life sentence for killing and dismembering his wife pleaded guilty today to the murder of Myrna Letandre, whose remains were found in a Winnipeg rooming house in 2013 after she went missing years earlier

A man already serving a life sentence for killing and dismembering his wife pleaded guilty today to the murder of Myrna Letandre, whose remains were found in a Winnipeg rooming house in 2013 after she went missing years earlier.

Traigo Ehkid Andretti, 40, who represented himself in court, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as Letandre's family members wept in a Winnipeg courtroom on Tuesday morning.

Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice Chris Martin called the killing "evil, vile and despicable," saying Andretti showed little remorse for the crime and has very little chance for rehabilitation.

Andretti's conviction is the first resulting from Project Devote, a joint task force set up by the RCMP and the Winnipeg Police Service dedicated to investigating the cases of 28 missing persons and homicide victims in Manitoba.
Traigo Andretti, now 40, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder on Tuesday in the death of Myrna Letandre. (Family photo)

Each of the cases, some dating back to 1961, involves a victim of high or extremely high risk due to lifestyle, police said in July 2012, when Project Devote was launched.

"We certainly felt it fitting, despite the circumstances that the family and the entire community are going through, we're absolutely pleased with the outcome of today's court proceedings," Const. Jason Michalyshen of the Winnipeg Police Service told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

    Letandre, who was from the Pinaymootang First Nation, was 36 years old when she was last seen in downtown Winnipeg on Oct. 5, 2006. Her sister reported her missing.

    On May 9, 2013, police found her remains buried in the foundation of a rooming house on Lorne Avenue, in the city's Point Douglas neighbourhood.

    She is now buried at the First Nation, between Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin.

    "I'm hoping that the outcome of today's proceedings provide some sort of comfort, a little bit of comfort, and some measure of justice for the entire Letandre family and for everyone that knew Myrna and the person that she was," Michalyshen said.

    Even with the case resolved, the number of cases Project Devote is working on remains unchanged. The disappearance of 17-year-old Amanda Bartlett in 1996 was added in November 2012.

    Sentenced to life

    Martin accepted the Crown's request for a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years. Andretti will serve that sentence concurrently with his other life sentence.

    Andretti, who also goes by the name Dylan Harold Grubb, had asked for the maximum sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

    A vigil is held on May 16, 2013, outside the Lorne Avenue rooming house where Letandre's remains were found. (Jaison Empson/CBC)
    Wearing jeans and a green sweatshirt, he apologized to the family and the community at large for his actions.

    "I am sorry, but that seems insufficient for the loss," he told court. "I tried to justify to myself after the fact she was in pain, but I don't know if there was anything less than evil involved."

    Last year, Andretti was given a mandatory life sentence, with no chance of parole for at least 25 years, for the first-degree murder of his wife, 41-year-old Jennifer McPherson, on a remote island off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

    He was charged in the Winnipeg case while in jail in B.C., and was brought back to the Manitoba capital in 2014. He had pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in October.

    Court was told that Andretti strangled Letandre and slit her throat, then dismembered her and disposed of her body parts in various locations, including a crawlspace in the rooming house and a garbage bin that he lit on fire.

    McPherson was also strangled and dismembered, with her remains buried, set ablaze or placed inside lobster traps, court was told.

    Andretti initially did not disclose a motive. However, he later spoke of the effects of anti-depressants and said yes when Martin asked him if that caused him to kill her.

    The judge asked Andretti numerous times if he wanted a psychiatric assessment ordered, but he declined. Andretti also said he was not interested in seeking a "not criminally responsible" designation.

    'I hope [he] burns in hell,' says sister

    Letandre's sister, Lorna Sinclair, wept as she read her victim impact statement in court on Tuesday.
    Myrna Letandre, 36, went missing in October 2006. Her remains were found in May 2013, buried in the foundation of a rooming house in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood. (Family photo)

    "My life has been in turmoil since I reported my sister missing," she said, adding her mother died in 2008 not knowing where her daughter was.

    "I wish I knew why he did this. My sister was harmless," Sinclair said.

    "I hope Mr. Andretti burns in hell."

    Outside court, Sinclair told reporters she hopes Andretti never gets out of prison.

    "I completely believe he's a monster and should never ever be let out — no consideration of any life, of anyone's life," she said.

    She also said Andretti's guilty plea and the long sentence brings her some sense of closure. Not knowing what happened to a loved one can leave a family in turmoil, she said.

    "I feel for those families and I hope and pray that they find their loved ones too," she said, adding that she worries Andretti may have other victims.

    Michalyshen said police do not believe there is any link between Andretti and any outstanding missing person or homicide case.

    Corrections

    • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Traigo Andretti received a 20-year sentence for second-degree murder in the death of Myrna Letandre in Winnipeg. He actually received a life sentence with no eligibility for parole for 20 years.
      Aug 25, 2015 5:48 PM CT

    With files from the CBC's Angela Johnston and The Canadian Press

    Comments

    To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

    By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

    Become a CBC Member

    Join the conversation  Create account

    Already have an account?

    now