Alexa Emerson released after May sentencing in Saskatoon white powder case
Federal legislation required she be freed, Ministry of Justice says
The woman who used white powder and bomb threats to spark fear in Saskatoon has been released from jail without serving her full sentence.
Alexa Emerson, also known as Amanda Totchek, targeted victims around the city, sending packages with a mystery powder to individuals, businesses and schools. The powder ultimately proved benign, but the mailings cost emergency services hundreds of thousands of dollars and disrupted the lives of everyone involved.
Eight victim-impact statements were read following her conviction, including one from a Saskatoon firefighter who said she is "the most evil, manipulative person I have ever met."
Emerson entered guilty pleas in May to 15 charges including harassment, criminal mischief and uttering threats. All were connected with events in 2016 and 2017.
With credit for time served, she was expected to be out of jail in mid-September, but she was released on Sunday from Pine Grove Correctional Centre in Prince Albert.
According to the Ministry of Justice, federal legislation means Emerson was eligible for statutory release after serving two-thirds of her sentence. No special application is needed to get this kind of release, and it's available to any inmate who fits the criteria, prosecutor Jennifer Claxton-Viczko says
The act the ministry cites in relation to Emerson's release states that those who obey prison rules and conditions and actively participate in programs designed to promote rehabilitation and reintegration are eligible to be released without serving their entire sentence.
Emerson is on probation for three years, which will include psychiatric treatment, according to conditions placed on her at her sentencing. She will have limited access to a cellphone.
At the time of her sentencing, Claxton-Viczko said that getting Emerson help after her release is key to preventing a future repeat of what happened in 2016 and 2017.
"The probation order will assist the offender in rehabilitating by giving her three years of psychiatric care," she said outside court.
"I think anybody looking at the circumstances of the offences — the obvious obsessive nature of harassing ex-boyfriend after ex-boyfriend after ex-boyfriend — would leave even the common person with the belief that she needed some psychiatric assistance."
with files from Dan Zakreski