Triple mur­derer sen­tenced to life in prison

CAU­TION: GRAPHIC CON­TENT THAT FOL­LOWS MAY DIS­TURB SOME READ­ERS

Cape Breton Post - - Canada -

An Al­berta man who butchered a father, his two-year-old daugh­ter and a woman will be ap­proach­ing his 100th birth­day be­fore he is el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply for pa­role af­ter be­ing sen­tenced to life in prison.

Derek Saret­zky, 24, was con­victed of three counts of first-de­gree mur­der in June for the 2015 deaths of Terry Blanchette, Blanchette’s daugh­ter Hai­ley Dun­bar-Blanchette and 69-year-old Hanne Meketech.

A con­vic­tion of first-de­gree mur­der car­ries an au­to­matic life sen­tence with no chance of pa­role for 25 years.

But Jus­tice Wil­liam Tille­man was asked by the Crown to make the pe­ri­ods of pa­role in­el­i­gi­bil­ity con­sec­u­tive, mean­ing Saret­zky couldn’t ap­ply for free­dom for 75 years.

Tille­man agreed with the re­quest not­ing that means the Saret­zky will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.

Saret­zky was also sen­tenced to five years for caus­ing an in­dig­nity to the lit­tle girl’s body, which is to be served con­cur­rently.

“I’m sat­is­fied he is dan­ger­ous,’’ Tille­man told a Leth­bridge court Wed­nes­day.

Tille­man said each mur­der was a sep­a­rate and de­lib­er­ate event caus­ing heart­break for the Crowsnest Pass com­mu­nity, where the killings hap­pened.

The judge noted five days passed be­tween Meketech’s killing and the mur­ders of Blanchette and his daugh­ter.

“As he car­ried out th­ese three mur­ders, Mr. Saret­zky gained mo­men­tum,’’ the judge said, adding Saret­zky would have been sur­rounded by the grief and ter­ror of his com­mu­nity.

Dur­ing the trial, court heard video­taped con­fes­sions from Saret­zky, who told po­lice he

killed Meketech — a friend of his grand­par­ents — on the spur of the mo­ment and be­cause he didn’t think any­body cared about her.

Five days later, Blanchette was beaten be­fore his throat was cut in the home where he lived with Hai­ley.

The lit­tle girl was taken from her crib to a camp­site, which was par­tially owned by Saret­zky’s fam­ily, where he choked her to death with a shoelace. He said “a lit­tle prayer’’ over the girl be­fore he drank her blood, ate part of her heart and burned her body in a firepit.

Blanchette’s body was found by his father and au­thor­i­ties launched a mas­sive search for Hai­ley, but it was called off af­ter Saret­zky con­fessed to po­lice.

Six months later he con­fessed to the mur­der of Meketech.

Saret­zky knew all three vic­tims and Hai­ley’s mother tes­ti­fied that she, Blanchette and Saret­zky even hung out to­gether for a brief pe­riod of time. But no real mo­tive for the killings emerged dur­ing the trial. Saret­zky told po­lice the devil taunted him “to do all kinds of stupid stuff,’’ but he

was found men­tally fit to face the charges.

Mem­bers of the Saret­zky fam­ily and most of the Blanchette fam­ily de­clined to speak to re­porters fol­low­ing the sen­tenc­ing.

“It’s the best we could have hoped for,’’ was all Terry Blanchette’s father, Bill, would say.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Pho­tini Pa­pada­tou said it’s time for the com­mu­nity “put them­selves back to­gether again.’’

“What op­tions do we have other than to move for­ward? This com­mu­nity came to­gether to ad­dress a hor­ren­dous act,’’ she said out­side court.

“It has re­stored my faith in both jus­tice and the com­mu­nity in how they dealt with pos­si­bly one of the worst cases that this prov­ince has ever seen.’’

Saret­zky’s lawyer said the sen­tence wasn’t a sur­prise but it’s too soon to dis­cuss whether the de­ci­sion will be ap­pealed. Pa­trick Edger­ton said his client is still pro­cess­ing what hap­pened.

“He didn’t have a great deal to say about it. He has some re­flec­tion to deal with over the next few days,’’ Edger­ton said.

CP PHOTO

Amanda Blanchette, right, sis­ter of vic­tim Terry Blanchette, ar­rives at the court­house in Leth­bridge, Alta., on Wed­nes­day. Derek Saret­zky, 24, was sen­tenced to 75 years in prison for three counts of first de­gree mur­der in Septem­ber 2015, of Terry Blanchette, his two-year-old daugh­ter Hai­ley Dun­bar-Blanchette and 69-year-old Hanne Meketch.

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