An Edmonton man who admitted in court to the brutal slaying of a friend has been pronounced guilty of her murder.
Dana Jane Turner, 31, was reported missing from her home in Fort Saskatchewan on Aug. 16, 2011. Her remains were found nearly two months later, near an oil lease west of Innisfail.
Mark Damien Lindsay, now 29, was arrested in mid-March of the following year on charges including second-degree murder, interfering with human remains and obstructing justice.
On trial in the Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench earlier this year, Lindsay admitted to the killing through his defence counsel, Kent Teskey and Curtis Steeves of Edmonton.
Court heard during the trial that Lindsay, recently released from an assault sentence for stabbing Turner in the cheek, had met up with her at a fast-food restaurant in Edmonton sometime in August of 2011. Fearing that she was planning to hurt him, Lindsay had armed himself with a pencil. At some point during their meeting, he stabbed her in the eye with the pencil, strangled her, and then ran over her with a car.
Defence counsel argued that Lindsay was delusional at the time and therefore could not be held criminally responsible for his actions.
In court on Friday, Justice Eldon Simpson said defense counsel had failed to prove that Lindsay’s mental illness rendered him incapable of appreciating the nature and extent of his crimes.
Lindsay’s calculated efforts to cover up his crime show, on a balance of probabilities, that he was fully capable of understanding what he had done, said Simpson.
He pronounced Lindsay guilty of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. The charge of interfering with remains had been withdrawn earlier, during trial.
Dressed in a crisp, white shirt and black pants, his black eyebrows carefully plucked and his wavy black hair hanging like a mop on his head, Lindsay showed little emotion while the verdict was pronounced. He sat with his chin thrust forward and focused his attention on the judge until ordered to stand for the verdict. He then placed his right hand on the back of his head, where it remained while Alberta Sheriffs led him away.
Outside court, Turner’s mother, Wendy Yurko, said that while there is nothing the courts can to to save her daughter or to “erase the devastation” in her family, she is relieved that Lindsay will be prevented from harming any more women.
“At least we know that because of her murder, he’s off the streets for however long the government decides and that he’s not going to do this to someone else,” said Yurko
“If the NCR (not criminally responsible) ruling had actually gone through, it would be the same thing as Tim McLean’s murderer (who is) now living free in Edmonton on our tax dollars.”
McLean, 22, was beheaded and cannibalized on a Greyhound bus west of Portage La Prairie, Man. on March 5, 2009. He was killed by a 40-year-old man who was later declared not criminally responsible for the murder. Remanded to a mental health centre in Selkirk, Man., the killer was released on May 8, 2015 by officials satisfied that his illness was stable and that he possessed no further threat.
Yurko said seeing something similar happen with Lindsay was her biggest fear because of the pain his actions have inflicted on her family.
“My family is like a beautiful glass vase that was smashed into a billion pieces. We can’t be fixed. The only thing they could do was stop this crime from happening to somebody else. They’ve done that today, and for that, I’m grateful,” she said.
Crown prosecutor Bina Border, who carried the case with co-counsel Ed Ring, said the pronouncement of guilty for second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence. The only question now is the length of time Lindsay must serve before he can be considered for parole, said Border.
Crown and defence counsel have been asked to prepare their submissions to Justice Simpson for a sentencing hearing to be set at a later date, most likely during arraignment proceedings on June 6.