A man who admitted to shooting and killing his wife in McLean has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.
John Strang pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in early October after his wife Lisa Strang was found dead in the basement of her home in the community east of Regina in 2015.
Both the Crown and defence had made a joint submission asking Justice Ellen Gunn for parole eligibility to be set at 17 years, which she accepted.
John was originally charged with first-degree murder but that was reduced to second-degree murder, along with a charge of uttering a threat against another woman, for which he was sentenced to two years to be served concurrently.
He appeared emotionless as Gunn announced her decision on the punishment for the crimes, which she called “deplorable and unexplainable.”
At the time of the murder, court heard Lisa was sitting at a table when she was shot from behind—once in the back of the head and once in the torso, which pierced her heart.
Lisa’s parents described it as an act of “savage cowardice.”
SaskParty employees present
Lisa was the finance director for the Sask. Party and was described by her colleagues as a meticulous and hard working person with an amazing memory and kind soul. She was said to be very caring; someone who would make blankets for coworkers when they had a baby.
Outside of court, those who knew Lisa huddled in a circle and hugged.
“It’s closure, you begin the process of healing and we have a lot of healing to do,” said the party’s executive director, Patrick Bundrock in response to the sentence. “But more importantly, we also have to remember a friend and never let her memory or her legacy or what she’s accomplished in her life be forgotten.”
Through the court proceedings, it was revealed that Lisa was consistently paying off her husband’s debts. Her family members described John as a controlling person who kept her isolated from her family.
Bundrock had a message for John.
“As you begin your life sentence you need to reflect on the actions and the things that you did, and the one thing that we have never, ever heard is why and we deserve to know why,” he said.
During the initial investigation, an arsenal of weapons, including several guns, along with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition were found in John’s Jeep. More weapons and ammo were also found at his home.
As part of Gunn’s sentence, the 50-year-old Strang will be prohibited from ever owning a firearm again.
The murder weapon will be forfeited to the Crown and the rest of his guns he’ll have to give away to someone of his or his counsel’s choosing.
“He’ll never have a gun back. The guns are not being returned to him, they’re going to be returned to a third party,” said defence lawyer Brian Smith.
An argument had been made that all of Strang’s guns should have been forfeited, but Smith argued against that. He said it could have resulted in a fundamental change to the law in Saskatchewan, whereby it could have allowed police to forfeit firearms completely unrelated to a crime if they happened to be seized as part of another crime.
In the end, Gunn found no evidence to suggest Strang’s other weapons should have been forfeited along with the murder weapon.
Crown lawyer Kelly Kaip said that decision on the forfeiture issue will be reviewed to consider options.
Kaip also took time to speak about domestic abuse in Saskatchewan, saying it’s a very complex issue and a lot of thought will be required in order to help address the problem.
“It’s unfortunate in the circumstances that Miss Strang —who had made so many steps to change her life, she was in this process of renewal of her professional and personal life —that those opportunities were taken from her,” said Kaip.
“She would have had a lot of support had she made it known that she was going to leave Mr. Strang. That being said, he was successful in isolating her.”
She said the province has undertaken a domestic violence and murder review.