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Case of Guy Turcotte amplifies seriousness of second degree murder in Canada

Updated on July 20, 2016

Case of Guy Turcotte amplifies seriousness of second degree murder in Canada

The pro-criminal mindset is an irrational thing, meaning, it is not exactly logic rich. Most of the time this has nothing to do with the mental capacity of the criminal involved. It has everything to do with the fact that the criminal and their supporters want to get off easy, or hide, or make lighter the heinousness of their crimes. Criminals and their supporters will go to great lengths, even call themselves mentally ill, in their efforts to escape life in prison, or public shame. And sometimes, when they are one of the “beautiful people” like Oscar Pistorius, they get away with it. But this does not happen in Canada, as one of the beautiful people, a former doctor, is now finding out. After spending 6 years trying to get off from stabbing his two children a total of 46 times, Guy Turcotte has been convicted of second degree murder and will spend life in prison reports the CBC Dec. 6.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, barring acts of terrorism, first degree murder is the most heinous crime an individual can commit in this country. This is a planned and premeditated murder. The Criminal Code lists second degree murder then as the second most heinous crime in Canada.

Second degree murder is a murder that happens in the heat of the moment. The intent to kill heinously is still there, however these are crimes that happen in the heat of the moment and are not premeditated. A lesser offense of manslaughter occurs when death occurs accidentally, for example in the case of a death caused by drinking and driving.

There is nothing nice or easy about a second degree murder conviction as many convicted or that support those kinds of criminals will try and tell you. When it comes to second degree murder, the law is clear. The individual clearly intended to kill the victim in question, and heinously. It just wasn’t premeditated.

Anyone that says then, “It was only second degree” is one of those pro-criminal mindsets that is trying to make a heinous crime look less heinous to the public. And this is precisely what Guy Turcotte has been trying to do since he stabbed his two children 6 years ago. He’s been trying every legal defense he could to get off for these crimes, from mental instability to trying for lesser charges of culpable homicide which is the equivalent of manslaughter.

Sound familiar? It’s exactly what Oscar Pistorius attempted, and failed. Oscar Pistorius has now been convicted of murder, and so has Guy Turcotte in his second trial.

It’s a case that has some legal similarities to Oscar Pistorius, as it is a ground breaking case that has had all of Canada talking, even Parliament Hill. The Turcotte murders have prompted new legislation on Parliament Hill with Bill C-54. It is a case where the accused almost got off, but the Crown appealed.

The Crown does not actually appeal verdicts all that much. It was a rare event when it happened to Oscar Pistorius, and it was rare here. But being a doctor with resources, Turcotte was willing to spend and go to any lengths to get away with the murder of his babies. .

The Case of Guy Turcotte

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Second degree murder is one of Canada's most heinous crimes.

If they were alive today, Ann-Sophie would be 10 this Christmas, and her brother Olivier would be 12. Every Christmas for their mother for the rest of her life will be gutting. No matter how much time has passed.

Their mother says now that she is relieved with this verdict and can move on. But that doesn’t change anything for her. She still wakes up every morning without her babies.

The pain lasts for life. As such, Canada has measures in place to ensure that those convicted of this crime, suffer for life as well. Guy Turcotte is expected to spend his life in prison.

Why would someone do such a thing to such precious babies, or anyone for that matter?Hate. Many journalists in the Twittersphere have referred to this crime as an act of misogyny. This is another case of a love story gone really, really wrong, with the most innocent of Canada’s citizens paying the ultimate price.

During his trials, the Crown contended that Guy’s former wife was involved with another man after their divorce. The Crown also contended that Turcotte didn’t want his children to spend their life with the new man.

So he killed them. It was the first of many irrational moves he would make.

It is a case that had all of Quebec, and now all of Canada, talking. Late last year, Guy Turcotte was found guilty of second degree murder. But it was a long time for the Crown to reach this victory.

The murders happened in February 2009 in a bloodied bathroom one night. A half consumed bottle of anti-freeze was found in the bathroom after the murders. The accused said in his first trial he wanted to kill himself and that was his only intention that evening.

Being a doctor, he would know that saying out loud that he wanted to kill himself would put his mental stability into question. In other words, it would be easier for him to get off. And at first, it worked.

In the first trial, what came first, the suicide attempt or the murders, was the critical question. Turcotte said he wanted to kill himself. But did not want his children to wake up and find his body. So, he stabbed them 46 times.

It’s the irrational criminal mindset. At first it worked. His first jury accepted this and he was convicted of culpable homicide, just like Oscar Pistorius.

Guy Turcotte spent 46 months in a psychiatric detention center in Montreal, Quebec, the Pinel Institute. The Crown appealed. In Canada when this happens and an individual is charged with second degree murder they are detained immediately.

The legal arguments the Crown used to bring the case back to court were errors in law by the Superior Court justice. The jury in the first trial was not given proper instructions. The Crown argued this had a “major impact on the verdict” according to the Toronto Star last year.

It was enough to get this Guy back into court. The mother of the victims, Isabelle Gaston, at the time cited the new trial as a “necessary evil” according to the CBC. An emergency room doctor herself, she used her own platform to become an advocate for justice reform in Canada.

And she has been successful. Last year the federal government put Bill C-54 on the table. This bill would make it more difficult for future offenders to try and get off on the insanity defense.

It provides a new category of high risk offenders that claim mental instability. This bill gives the Crown more powers to hold mentally unstable criminals longer, without a formal diagnosis. This bill also keeps the families of victims more in the loop on the status of these offenders, and informs them upon their release.

It is a bill that has been used in other high profile cases. This includes the case of Allan Shoenborn from British Columbia who also killed his children. It also includes the case of Vince Li, a Manitoba man diagnosed with schizophrenia who beheaded a man on a Greyhound bus many years ago.

The second trial based on these arguments began in September of last year reports the CBC Sept. 23. The second jury in this trial were shown photos of bloodied children in their beds. This jury also saw a bloodied bathroom, where a jug of windshield washer listed as “a quarter full” was nearby, as was a kitchen knife.

At the time,Turcotte and his wife were married but separated and he claimed she was having an affair. The couple shared joint custody of the children who were 3 and 5 at the time. On Feb. 20 2009, Guy picked up his children for his visitation.

Their mother would never see them alive again. Internet search histories shown at his trial showed that before the murders, Guy researched various methods of suicide. He also cancelled the babysitter for the following day, and an appointment that he had for himself.

How is that not premeditated murder? It took 7 days for this new jury to think about that. On Feb. 21, the children were found dead in the home, and Guy was found unconscious, but alive.

He was arrested immediately. And so began the long legal battle as the children’s mother fought for justice for her children. Just before Christmas 2015, her battle with justice ended, and her battle with healing in a new chapter began. After the verdict, the CBC reported Dec. 6 that she said she was happy and relieved. She also said,

“I will not wake up tomorrow with children. I’m relieved for Olivier and Anne-Sophie, this is justice for them – a little girl of three and a little boy of five. I hope that Olivier and Anne-Sophie, their souls, will be able to rest. Since their deaths, my life has been a struggle, really a struggle.”

And so it will be for the rest of her life. But now she can rest that the man that murdered her babies will not walk for this crime. The crime of second degree murder carries a life sentence in Canada.

In some cases, the accused can be released from prison after a certain amount of time based on behavior or parole. But even if they are released, their life will be anything but comfortable. They won’t be allowed to leave the country, they won’t be permitted to do a lot of things that many Canadians, and “wannabe” Canadians take for granted.

We have learned of at least one case in Canada of a second degree murder that was committed decades ago where the murderer is still paying for his crime despite the fact that he is out in society. This is the case of another relationship story gone really really wrong.

This guy, Guy Ritchie, had intercourse with a gay man one night in Toronto, and then stabbed him to death over 9 times just for being gay. In that case, the judge severely reprimanded the accused saying, according to the Ottawa Citizen,

“I’ve seen lots of recommendations from juries. But I must say I’ve never seen one like this before. You decided you were going to get and kill a gay.”

That gay man’s family, the family of Marlon McRae, still suffers today. Like Isabelle Gaston, they will suffer every Christmas for the rest of their lives. And, although the man that heinously murdered him is now out on Canadian parole, his life is pretty much done. Like Guy Turcotte, who is now considered a misogynist by many, he will pay for his crime of hate for the rest of his life.

He can’t leave the country. The American woman he wants to keep as his wife will be deported soon due to her own criminal history combined with his. And they both will argue that second degree murder isn’t that big a deal at all. That is the irrationality of the criminal mindset.

Whether or not Guy Turcotte will receive a life sentence remains to be seen. Even if he receives what is perceived as a light sentence, he will pay for his hate crime and be imprisoned by Canada the rest of his life. Guy Turcotte’s sentencing occurred in December 2015, where he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 17 years.

Do you agree with this conviction?

Do you think second degree murder is an acceptable conviction?

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