Burying her head in her hands, her sobs barely audible, Maxine Goforth wept as she heard what happened to her daughter.
Clayton Bo Eichler pleaded guilty Monday to the second-degree murders of Kelly Goforth, 21, and Richele Bear, 23.
Goforth’s body was discovered in a bag with DNA and receipts later linked to Eichler.
While investigating the accused’s home, police found photos of someone who medical experts believed to be Bear. The photos appear to show Eichler committing an indignity to a body.
In court Monday, Eichler spoke only to state his guilty plea for lesser charges of second-degree murder and that he entered those voluntarily.
He wore a prison-issue orange jumpsuit with a white bandage on the left side of his neck and chains around his feet.
The guilty pleas appeared to be a surprise to all involved who were due to begin Eichler’s trial for double first-degree murder charges.
Instead, the trial was initially delayed for what was described as a medical issue that took Eichler to hospital Sunday night.
Despite the initial charge of first-degree murder, Crown lawyer Bill Burge was satisfied justice has been served.
“We felt this was a compromise we could live with and that’s why we took the plea to second degree,” Burge said outside Court of Queen’s Bench in Regina.
“He is going to be sentenced for a life sentence for two murders, his parole eligibility will be fixed by the court and his actual parole, if he ever receives it, will be determined by the parole board.”
Bear’s body has never been found. Defence lawyer Morris Bodnar wouldn’t discuss whether there were ongoing talks with Eichler to reveal the location.
“Not for the purposes of the media, I would not be,” Bodnar said.
The pain is all too real for Bear’s family. Her aunt, Angela Gray, is hopeful one day Eichler will reveal where she is located.
“It is difficult, I don’t feel closure,” Gray said. “Why he took so long to plea bothers me, but I am happy this is how it turned out.”
The Crown and defence jointly submitted a sentence of life with no chance of parole for 20 years.
Justice Fred Kovach is tasked with the decision to accept that submission or change the parole eligibility.
He will do so after hearing victim impact statements from both mothers when court resumes 10 a.m. Tuesday.