Terror Squad gang member Tyler Vandewater is ineligible for parole for 16 years after he killed his Saskatchewan Penitentiary cellmate, Chris Van Camp.
In March, Justice Brian Scherman rejected the 31-year-old’s self-defence argument and found him guilty of second-degree murder. The offence carries an automatic sentence of life in prison.
Van Camp, 37, was declared dead in his cell around 8:15 a.m. on June 7, 2017. An autopsy revealed he suffered more than 60 lacerations and wounds to his upper body.
The judge called the attack particularly gruesome and brutal.
“There is not one iota of evidence of conflict, of resistance, of any injury to Mr. Vandewater through this process,” Scherman said.
Crown prosecutor Linh Lê wanted parole ineligibility set between 16 and 18 years. Defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle argued for 14 years.
The judge noted how the ultimate decision around parole will fall on Parole Board of Canada, and his 16-year ruling only sets a minimum for Vandewater’s eligibility.
The sentence also comes with a lifetime ban on firearms, ammunition and explosives.
During his January trial, Vandewater said he considered Van Camp “like family.” The pair shared a cell before Van Camp was released from Saskatchewan Penitentiary on conditions.
The victim returned to the facility after a drug overdose, which Correctional Service Canada deemed a parole violation.
During victim impact statements, Van Camp’s mother Lauren Laithwaite recalled spending five days with her son in hospital after his overdose, “just praying that he would survive.”
Had he died before returning to the penitentiary, it “would have been so much more compassionate and dignified,” she said.
Vandewater is appealing his conviction, arguing the judge erred in his consideration of the accused’s self-defence argument. His notice appeal also states the verdict was unreasonable, relied on inappropriate evidence and wasn’t supported by admissible evidence.
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