A Calgary man will not be eligible for parole for 14 years after being convicted of second-degree murder in the 2017 beating death of his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter.
Justin Bennett was sentenced in a Calgary courtroom on Friday morning. Second-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence, but the parole eligibility period remained in question.
Because Bennett has already served five years behind bars, he can apply for parole in nine years.
Ivy Wick, 3, was injured on Sept. 27, 2017. Eight days later, she died in hospital of head and brain injuries. An autopsy revealed the child suffered blunt force trauma.
Bennett was charged a year later after confessing to undercover police officers that he snapped when Wick interrupted his video game. He smashed the girl’s head, threw her against a wall then tripped her.
In March 2021, Bennett was convicted of second-degree murder. Sentencing in the case was delayed after he fired several lawyers. He also failed in an attempt to have a mistrial declared.
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A sentencing hearing was held in January, during which time Wick’s mother said in a victim impact statement that Bennett took his anger out on an innocent child who didn’t understand why she was being punished.
“I will never forgive you for taking my child out of my arms,” Helen Wordsworth said in the statement. “I hope her face haunts you until the day you die.
“You took my light away and left me in a dark nightmare.”
During the sentencing hearing, Crown prosecutor Tom Spark said Bennett should serve 15 years behind bars before being eligible for parole.
Bennett’s lawyer Greg Lazin said his client should be eligible for parole after 13 years.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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