LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — An Alberta man who butchered a father, his two-year-old daughter and a woman has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years.
Derek Saretzky was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in June for the 2015 deaths of Terry Blanchette, his 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 24-year-old will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.
“I’m satisfied he is dangerous,” Tilleman told 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 she was strangled, dismembered and cannibalized. Her body was burned 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 showed no remorse for his actions which were “simply abominable” and caused “grave injury to his entire community,” Tilleman said.
The judge said he hoped Saretzky gains some insight and an understanding of the value of human life.
“A sentence of jail is not a sentence of vengeance,” Tilleman said.
“There is next to no chance he will ever be free. This chapter is closed.”
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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press