Nfld. & Labrador

'No balance': Regula Schule's friend wants answers after accused killer's death in HMP

Linda Saunders-McLean was a close friend of Regula Schule, whose accused murderer died inside Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's this week.

‘I can't even really put words to it,' said Linda Saunders–McLean

Linda Saunders-McLean was a close friend of Regula Schule, 88. (Katie Breen/CBC)

A close friend of Regula Schule says it will be hard to get closure about her friend's murder now that the accused killer is dead. 

Schule was 88 years old when she was killed more than three years ago, and her accused killer, Jonathan Henoche, died Wednesday inside Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's. 

The 33-year-old was charged with the first-degree murder of Schule, and accused of setting a fire at her Happy Valley-Goose Bay home in July 2016. 

While awaiting trial, Henoche died inside HMP during what sources have called a violent altercation with correctional officers. 

"Really, honestly, I'm not surprised. Just a little bit of history of what I know about this young man, he was always troubled," says Linda Saunders-McLean.

She was a close friend of Schule, and said they knew each other from church. She remembers Schule as having a ton of energy, and always looking to help others.

She also said the accused killer's three-year wait for a trial "doesn't make sense," and has left her with questions.

He was just locked up and that was it. And forgot about.- Linda Saunders-McLean

"Regula was such a beautiful person inside and out," said Saunders–McLean. "I can't even really put words to it."

She said the inmate's death came as a shock.

"You wait and anticipate a court hearing, so we can find more information as to why he did it," said Saunders-McLean. "But we're not going to find that out now."

Victim volunteered with inmates

Jonathan Henoche was charged with first-degree murder in relation to Schule's death. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

She said Schule regularly volunteered at the jail in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, doing Bible readings with the inmates. 

"It's sad, but it's almost like a reality of how life is," said Saunders-McLean. "You serve time for offences but Regula passes away for serving the people, the general public, or people that are down and out."

"Now the person that she probably helped at one point murdered her, and now she's gone. So really I guess there is no balance. It doesn't sit very well for me, because there's no right or wrong with this stuff," she said.

Saunders-McLean said she still wonders why Henoche was waiting trial for three years. 

"It was just so long and drawn out and it didn't even get to a point where he had to stand trial," she said. "It just took, what, three years? Why so long? It just doesn't make sense to me."

"He was just locked up and that was it. And forgot about. That's how I felt."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Katie Breen