KITCHENER, Ont. - The widow of an elderly man killed while delivering Christmas cards died "a thousands deaths" on the day her husband was savagely murdered, and no one in her family has been able to recover from the "horrific" crime, they said in victim impact statements Monday.
"It was Dec. 15, 2007, I died," Bev Brown said during a sentencing hearing in Kitchener, Ont., for the man who admitted to killing her husband Hunter Brown, 74.
"My whole world as I knew it fell apart and even after two years my life has not come together," she told the packed and sombre courtroom.
Her husband was stabbed 45 times, mostly in the face, as he was carrying out his annual ritual of hand-delivering Christmas cards to neighbours.
Trevor LaPierre, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, as well as to an assault on Corey Speck, another neighbourhood man, two days later.
Brown's widow was the first of seven relatives and neighbours to describe the anguish they have suffered since finding the beloved husband, father and grandfather laying in a pool of blood, undelivered cards at his side.
"I am haunted by the images of my dad with his hand full of the Christmas cards he was cheerfully delivering ... (and) first encountering Trevor LaPierre," said his son Michael Brown.
"(I) imagine the terror as dad struggled while his face was being mutilated. How much ultimate suffering did he have to endure?"
The victim's daughter also spoke about being angry with a system that left clearly troubled individuals like LaPierre "unsupervised," and urged the judge to hand down the harshest possible sentence.
"My family has been decimated: We are not OK; we're grasping to carry on," said Sandra Brown, who like most family members said her faith in God was shattered by the murder.
"I'm truly sorry, but I will never be able to forgive Mr. LaPierre."
LaPierre was arrested soon after the stabbing death as he and his father were en route to a psychiatric ward.
According to the agreed statement of facts read into evidence, he did it to please the devil and "to save himself."
"He admitted this act was done to please Satan and he killed Mr. Brown because he 'thought he was the right one,"' according to the statement of facts.
"He also indicated his 'boss made him do it' and made reference to evil and the devil."
LaPierre also said that "he needed to kill and stated 'it could have been anybody."'
A second-degree murder conviction means an automatic life sentence.
Parole eligibility can be set anywhere from 10 to 25 years.
The defence and the Crown are expected to make a joint submission this afternoon asking that LaPierre serve his sentence at a centre in Kingston, Ont., for inmates with mental health issues.