Sentencing for Alberta man convicted of killing father, daughter and senior

By , on August 9, 2017


A conviction of first-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
A conviction of first-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — An Alberta man who butchered a father, his two-year-old daughter and a woman is expected to learn his fate today.

Derek Saretzky was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in June for the deaths of Terry Blanchette, his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and 69-year-old Hanne Meketech in September, 2015.

The 24-year-old was also convicted of causing indignity to a human body.

A conviction of first-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

But Justice William Tilleman has been asked by the prosecution to make the periods of parole ineligibility consecutive, which in this case would be 75 years.

If Tilleman agrees Saretzky would be 97 before he would be allowed to apply for parole.

Crown prosecutor Michael Fox urged the court to impose the maximum punishment, calling the victims “mere pawns of Mr. Saretzky’s thrill-seeking and unspeakable violence.

“You have a cold, calculated plan put in place targeting three innocent victims that were brutally killed,” Fox said at a hearing in June.

“Its callousness defies comparison to any other case that I’ve been able to find.”

He said there are few mitigating factors other than Saretzky’s youth and the fact he had no previous criminal record.

“For many parts of this trial, Mr. Saretzky has had a smile on his face,” Fox said. “His conduct betrays any suggestion that he harbours any true remorse.”

The court heard videotaped confessions from Saretzky who told police he killed Meketech _ a friend of his grandparents _ on the spur of the moment and because he didn’t think anybody cared about her.

Five days later, Blanchette was beaten before his throat was cut in the home where he lived with Hailey.

The little girl was taken from her crib to a campsite, which was partially owned by his family, where she was strangled, dismembered and cannibalized. Her body was burned in a firepit.

Blanchette’s body was found by his father and authorities launched a massive search for Hailey but it was called off after Saretzky confessed to police.

Six months later he confessed to the murder of Meketech.