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Derek Saretzky appeals convictions, sentence in Alberta triple murder

September 08, 2017 - 5:57 AM

CALGARY - An Alberta man is appealing his conviction and sentence for the murders of a father, the man's two-year-old daughter and a woman.

Derek Saretzky, 24, was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in June for the 2015 deaths of Terry Blanchette, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and 69-year-old Hanne Meketech.

Last month, he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years.

Calgary lawyer Balfour Der filed the notice of appeal on Saretzky's behalf.

"We believe there was evidence admitted that should not have been admitted, that there were mistakes made by the trial judge admitting the confessions that were given by Mr. Saretzky," Der said in an interview Thursday.

"We also contend that the sentence with three consecutive 25-year parole ineligibility periods were just simply too long."

Saretzky is seeking a new trial and the conviction and sentence appeals would be heard separately, he said.

Der, who was not Saretzky's lawyer during the trial, said he has not officially been retained yet but that he could handle the appeals.

Saretzky is being held at the maximum-security Atlantic Institution, a federal correctional facility in Renous, N.B.

Der said he has spoken with Saretkzy a few times and agreed to file the documents before the appeal time limit expires Friday.

Last month, Justice William Tilleman of Court of Queen's Bench said he considered Saretzky to be dangerous. He said that each murder was a separate and deliberate event causing heartbreak for the Crowsnest Pass community in southern Alberta, where the killings happened.

He noted that five days passed between Meketech's killing and the murders of Blanchette and his daughter.

CAUTION: GRAPHIC CONTENT THAT FOLLOWS MAY DISTURB SOME READERS

During the trial, court heard videotaped confessions from Saretzky, who told police he killed Meketech on the spur of the moment.

Blanchette was beaten before his throat was cut in the home where he lived with Hailey.

The girl was taken from her crib to a campsite, which was partially owned by Saretzky's family, where he choked her to death with a shoelace.

He said a prayer over the girl before he drank her blood, ate part of her heart and burned her body in a firepit.

Blanchette's body was found by his father. Police 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 knew all three victims. No real motive for the killings emerged during the trial.

Saretzky told police the devil taunted him "to do all kinds of stupid stuff,'' but he was found mentally fit to face the charges.

— by John Cotter in Edmonton

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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