PEI

Joel Clow's lawyer, Crown recommend 12 years for his killing of girlfriend

Joel Clow should spend the next 12 years in prison for killing his girlfriend Traci Lynch in 2015, his lawyer and the Crown prosecutor agreed in court in Charlottetown Monday.

'Her death has been emotionally draining. I have not slept right in four years,' says sister of victim

This photo of Joel Clow was taken by RCMP investigators shortly after his arrest in July 2015. (RCMP)

Joel Clow should get 12 years in prison for killing his girlfriend Traci Lynch in 2015, his lawyer and the Crown prosecutor agreed in court in Charlottetown Monday. 

Clow pleaded guilty to manslaughter last week in connection with Lynch's death. She was beaten and strangled to death in Pleasant Grove, P.E.I.

Her body was found on Clow's property.

Family described Traci Lynch as 'a quiet, private person,' at Monday's sentencing hearing. (Facebook)

He admitted his actions caused her death, but said he was too impaired on drugs and alcohol to know what he was doing and denied that he intended to kill her. 

The court had ordered a new trial after Clow's murder conviction was overturned on appeal in February 2019. 

The Crown and defence lawyers said the 12-year sentence would be in addition to the almost four years he's spent in custody since his arrest.

"Whatever sentence is handed down, it will not make the pain disappear for the Lynch family. It is just a step in a long process to bring closure," Crown prosecutor John Diamond told the court. "There is value in dealing with this quickly and not having a new trial. It is a benefit to defence and Crown to have finality."

Members of Traci Lynch's family travelled from Nova Scotia to P.E.I. to attend Monday's sentencing hearing. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

'I miss her hugs and her smiles'

Victim impact statements from several of Lynch's relatives were read out loud in court Monday.

Lynch's sister, Terri Durant, told the court, "I miss her hugs and her smiles. Her death has been emotionally draining. I have not slept right in four years."

Another statement by Norma Jean Lynch, Traci's mother, was also read to the court. In it she said, "We used to get together to celebrate her birthday every year. That will never happen again.… Her favourite colour was orange. That is the colour of warmth. She was always warm and friendly to people she loved.

"I feel he [Clow] showed no remorse during the trial," her statement continued. "We have been through hell…. I can't stop thinking about what Joel did to her.… I will never forgive this man for the life he took from us."

Nine family members travelled from Nova Scotia to attend the court hearing, as they have been at every other court date in this case, including Clow's original trial for murder.

RCMP found the body of Traci Lynch on the property of Joel Clow in Pleasant Grove, P.E.I. (RCMP)

Clow stood in court Monday and told the judge he feels terrible for the family. "There's nothing I will say that will change anything that happened. I can only imagine what the family went through and is going through," he said.

It is now up to Justice Terri MacPherson to decide whether to accept the lawyers' joint recommendation. She told the court she needs time to review it, and set a sentencing date of July 8.

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With files from Brian Higgins

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