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Crown wants Guy Turcotte to serve at least 20 years before parole eligibility

Guy Turcotte arrives at the Saint Jerome courthouse in Saint Jerome, Que., on September 14, 2015. Sentencing arguments are set to begin Friday morning in the case of the former Quebec doctor who has been convicted of second-degree murder in the deaths of his two children.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
December 18, 2015 - 1:00 PM

SAINT-JEROME, Que. - The ex-wife of a former Quebec doctor convicted of murdering their two children told him Friday that while he has succeeded in breaking her heart, he has not broken her resolve.

Isabelle Gaston delivered an emotional impact statement at sentencing arguments for Guy Turcotte, who was found guilty earlier this month of second-degree murder in the 2009 stabbing deaths of Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3.

The Crown suggested Turcotte serve a minimum 20 years before he's eligible to apply for parole, while the defence countered it should be less than 15 and closer to 10.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Andre Vincent will rule on Jan. 15.

Gaston was the only witness the Crown chose to have testify.

The handcuffed Turcotte cried and tried to wipe away the tears as he listened to her from the prisoner's box.

"I want you to know, Guy Turcotte, that you achieved your goal," Gaston told him as he sat shaking, with his head low.

"I want you to look me in the eyes," she said in a particularly intense moment.

"You broke my heart, but I want you to know you did not break my resilience," she added, as many in the courtroom cried.

Gaston told the judge she always wanted to be a mother but that losing her children ended that dream.

"The woman who existed in 2009 no longer exists and never will again," Gaston told the judge, explaining she has tried to have other children since the slayings and underwent procedures to help that happen.

"But at 43, I have lost hope," she said, choking back tears.

The defence didn't call any witnesses but filed updated psychiatric and psychological assessments.

Turcotte, 43, was invited to speak and seized the opportunity to address the judge and Gaston.

"People cannot understand the shame I have," Turcotte said in a weak-sounding voice. "I cannot look people in the face, I'm so ashamed."

Turcotte said he went to trial as a way of explaining his actions.

"I want to tell you Isabelle, I didn't go to trial to make you feel responsible," he said, adding he wanted to explain what he'd done and gone through "after hitting the bottom of the barrel.

"It was not to hurt you," he said.

"I know I can never forgive myself what happened."

A conviction on second-degree murder carries a sentence of life imprisonment but the court has some latitude on setting parole eligibility.

The minimum time to be served before being able to apply for parole is 10 years, while the maximum is 25 years.

Turcotte's lawyers were hoping the jury would find him not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder — the verdict that was handed down in 2011 at his first trial.

The jurors had the choice of four possible verdicts: not criminally responsible or guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter.

Vincent asked them if they had any recommendations for the minimum number of years Turcotte should serve but they said they had none.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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