A Blackfalds-area man who killed his victim in a vicious knife attack more than seven years ago was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter on Friday.
A second-degree murder trial had been set to begin in Edmonton on Monday for Paul Lionel White, 25. It would have been White’s third trial in connection with the brutal slaying of Grant Shoemaker, 21, at his Red Deer home on June 8, 2005. White was 18 years old at the time.
Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Adam Germain accepted a joint sentencing submission from Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers, which included the condition that White serve at least half of his remaining prison time before being eligible for parole.
White was given credit for 10 years and eight months in custody, which includes some two-for-one time served in remand. This means he will not be eligible for parole for three years and eight months.
Outside court, Shoemaker’s parents expressed their anger with the sentence.
“This was a premeditated murder. It wasn’t manslaughter,” said Shoemaker’s stepfather Howie Hedges. He said it’s a “joke” that White will likely be out of jail after serving a total of 10 years.
“There is no justice in this system. It’s ridiculous,” said Shoemaker’s mother Debbie Hedges.
“They are so busy protecting the accused’s rights, the victims have no rights.”
Both praised RCMP and prosecutors for their efforts, saying the system is to blame.
In an agreed statement of facts, the court heard that White’s pregnant girlfriend lied to him that she had been sexually assaulted by Shoemaker. White sought out the other man that evening and in a “blind rage” stabbed him nearly three dozen times, mostly in the head, neck and upper body.
Shoemaker’s body was discovered by a friend and neighbour the next day and White was arrested the same day. He had tried to remove evidence of his involvement in the slaying by cleaning his truck and clothing using bleach.
Police investigators later found traces of Shoemaker’s blood on White’s shower curtain.
Crown prosecutor Jeff Morrison said the facts in the case were “very troubling and very disturbing” and called White’s actions “truly abhorrent.”
Defence lawyer Laura Stevens said White was the seventh of nine children raised on a small farm in a fundamentalist Christian family.
He had no previous criminal record and little life experience when he moved to Red Deer to live with a brother. Here he met his girlfriend and his life “took a terrible left turn as a result of an infatuation.”
The only good that came out of that relationship was a son, with whom White has a close relationship, and is being raised by a sister and her husband, said Stevens.
White was convicted of second-degree murder in Red Deer in 2008 and was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for 13 years. But the Alberta Court of Appeal ordered another trial.
The venue was moved to Edmonton because of the publicity surrounding that trial. A second trial in 2011 was declared a mistrial and a third trial set. White has been out on bail since July 2011.
White was also given a lifetime weapons prohibition and must provide a sample of his DNA to a national database.