LETHBRIDGE — Family members of three murder victims stabbed a total of 244 times in a “frenzy of violence” at a townhouse say they will never fully recover from the senseless attack.
Five knives and a meat cleaver were found at the crime scene.
“It’s like a wicked nightmare. I cannot erase it from my mind. They were brutally stabbed to death,” Wendy English told court after Austin Vielle pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Monday on what was supposed to be the first day of his first-degree murder trial in Lethbridge, Alta.
Vielle, 24, answered Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Rodney Jerke with a “yes” when asked if he understood that he was admitting to the crimes.
Vielle was charged after Kyle Devine, 27, Clarissa English, 24, and her 18-year-old brother Dakota were found stabbed to death in a Lethbridge townhome in April 2015.
English and her brother were Wendy English’s grandchildren.
“We all want justice,” she said.
Laurie English, mother of Clarissa and Dakota English, is now raising her two grandchildren. She spoke directly to Vielle.
“You have brought complete tragedy to our lives,” she said. “I now know what hate means. I feel no compassion for you at all. You’ve destroyed more than half of my heart and my soul.”
Crown prosecutor Vaughan Hartigan told court the number of wounds can “only be described as a frenzy of violence” and the victims’ families are left to struggle with the ”sheer senselessness of the attacks”.
“We’re simply left with a why.”
Chantelle English, sobbing throughout her victim impact statement, said she found it hard to believe when she heard her siblings were dead. She said she saw photos in which her brother’s face was “squished in.”
“Did they feel pain? What really happened? We’ll never know. Only the Creator will know,” she cried.
Allen Devine said the day he found out he had lost his son was the worst day of his life.
“His life was cut short,” Devine said. “My pain remains insufferable.”
He addressed Vielle directly.
“I suggest you pray and ask the Creator for forgiveness.”
Judge Jerke delayed sentencing until Tuesday afternoon to mull over a joint submission from the Crown and defence that Vielle receive a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.
Vielle declined to address the court and the families of his victim directly but opted instead to have his lawyer Tonii Roulston read a statement.
“I’m sorry this happened. I don’t remember what happened. I’m sorry for bringing this pain on you and your family,” the statement read.
“They were my friends. I wish this didn’t happen. I hope in the future there can be some kind of reconciliation but I know this will be very difficult.”
An agreed statement of facts said all three victims were heavily intoxicated at the time.
The statement said Dakota English was stabbed 57 times, Devine had 84 cuts and stab wounds and Clarissa English was stabbed 103 times. Many of the wounds were to the faces, necks and upper bodies of all three.
Court heard Vielle was intoxicated when he committed the murders and has no recollection of what happened.