Triple mur­derer gets life, with no chance of pa­role for 75 years

No real mo­tive for the killings emerged dur­ing the trial

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - BILL GRAVELAND


LETH­BRIDGE, ALTA. — 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 69year-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 that 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.”


Amanda Blanchette, right, sis­ter of vic­tim Terry Blanchette, ar­rives at the court­house in Leth­bridge, Alta., on Wed­nes­day.

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