New Brunswick

Man sentenced to life in prison for double murder

Raymond Joseph White has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

Raymond Joseph White has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty last week to two counts of second-degree murder.

White was sentenced in Moncton provincial court on Tuesday. He will not be eligible for parole for 15 years.

White, 65, pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the 1995 deaths of a woman and her son near Sackville.

"I'm sorry I dragged this out for 16 years," White told the court on Tuesday.

"I know sorry doesn't cut it. I wish I had the courage to deal with this earlier."

White originally pleaded not guilty, then altered his plea last week following a week of voir-dire testimony in court.

Mary Lou Barnes, 37, and her 12-year-old son Larry William Mills Jr., were found dead in their home in British Settlement, on Nov. 6, 1995.

During an emotional court hearing on Tuesday, Larry Mills Sr. — Larry William Mills Jr.'s father — broke down sobbing while reading his victim impact statement and said a large part of him died the day of the murder.

Mills Sr. said he dropped his son off and never saw him alive again. He also told the court that after the murders, he said he was suicidal and he has needed counselling.

"You never get over it. I have to live with this for the rest of my life. I've beat myself up time and time and time again," Mills Sr. told reporters after the sentencing.

"I'm just glad it's over. Finally we can let Larry and Mary rest in peace."

Motive unknown

Both Barns and MIlls Jr. were strangled with panty hose. The boy was found with his hands tied behind his back and both had blunt force trauma to the head.

The RCMP presented the Crown with findings on three occasions over the years but no charges were laid until April 2010. The Mounties said in 2000 that there had been a break in the case, but they did not release any other details at the time.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Gerry Belliveau, who worked on the case for 13 years, said White's motive for murders will never be known.

"Justice was served. The right person will pay for the crimes that that person committed," he said.

The White and Mills families once lived just a few houses away from each other in the nearby community of Wood Point, and Barnes and White's wife worked together at a nursing home in Sackville. But beyond that, White did not have any significant relationship with the victims.

Defence lawyer Brian Munro said his client's actions had a devastating effect on the victims' family.

"You heard his open courtroom comments today. I think they spoke somewhat about what went on, but it's a tragic moment for the family and you still feel the pain of it 16 years later," Munro told reporters.

"Your heart can't help but bleed for the father of the young son."

With files from The Canadian Press