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Prosecution seeks two life sentences in Travis Vader manslaughter case

Sentencing in the Travis Vader manslaughter trial began this week. On Monday, Justice Denny Thomas heard from friends and family of the victims, Lyle and Marie McCann. Vader was found guilty of murdering the elderly St.
Brett McCann
Brett McCann

Sentencing in the Travis Vader manslaughter trial began this week.

On Monday, Justice Denny Thomas heard from friends and family of the victims, Lyle and Marie McCann.

Vader was found guilty of murdering the elderly St. Albert couple while they were on a road trip to B.C. in summer 2010. The second-degree murder conviction was later downgraded to manslaughter, which carries no minimum sentence.

The defence is seeking a concurrent sentence of four to six years, while the Crown, and the McCann family, wants to see the maximum sentence of two life terms applied.

During Monday’s court session, friends and family of Lyle and Marie McCann spoke of the pain the loss has caused them.

Many described feelings of overwhelming anxiety either when the phone rang late at night or when a family member or friend left on vacation.

“I will never forget the phone call in the middle of the night,” said Nicole Walshe, granddaughter to the slain couple. Her statement was read aloud by Crown prosecutor Ashley Finlayson. “From that day if I get an unusual phone call late at night I panic. I hate that fear and anxiety that I will never be able to dismiss.”

For the first time since the lengthy trial process began, Bret McCann and his wife Marie Ann were able to address the court.

Marie Ann spoke of the small everyday things she no longer gets to share with her parents-in-law.

“I was 18 when Bret brought me home and into their lives. I miss Dad’s gentle spirit. I miss his hand on my back when he was talking to me,” she told the court while choking back tears.

Bret asked the question that has been haunting him for the past six years: “Travis Vader, where are the bodies of my parents?”

After court was adjourned, Bret told reporters that he hoped the sentence would reflect the lack of remorse Vader has shown throughout the trial.

A week, which began Dec. 12, has been put aside for Vader’s sentencing hearing.