Murderer William Elliott to serve life sentences concurrently
The man who brutally killed two local women received sentences of life in prison, with no parole eligibility for 20 years, Friday in Duncan court.
William Elliott, 26, a Cowichan Tribes member, sat quietly as Judge Keith Bracken handed down his ruling in the hushed, standing-room-only courtroom.
Elliott received life sentences, without parole eligibility for 20 years, for each of the two murders. Those sentences will be served concurrently.
He pleaded guilty to the separate, second-degree murders of valley women Karrie Ann Stone, and Tyeshia Jones.
When asked if he had anything to say to the court, Elliott shook his head 'No.'
Stone's mother, Bev, said her family will now get some measure of closure from Elliott's stiff sentence: defense lawyers sought a 12- to 15-year sentence; Crown sought the maximum 25-year penalty.
"We'll move on and remember Karrie Ann as we knew her," Bev Stone said, signalling she would have preferred an even harsher sentence.
Stone's brother, Rodney, indicated prison life won't likely be kind to Elliott.
"He'll have a rough time in jail. We're just glad it's over and done with."
Mary Jim, Jones' mom — wearing a white T-shirt carrying Jones' photo and the caption 'Baby Girl' — had similar feelings about the verdict that's cold comfort to her long-grieving family.
"It is what it is," she said of Elliott's looming prison stretch, "but it doesn't bring my daughter back.
"She'll always be my everything; she's my angel — she's the one who gives me strength to carry on."
Bracken's sentence followed detailed scrutiny of case law, and reports about Elliott's twisted, troubled life.
Analyses included a Gladue Report, exploring the effects of his Aboriginal background on his bent behaviour.
Tribes' Chief Chip Seymour explained he was satisfied how his people helped police find and arrest Elliott.
But the chief was dismayed Elliott was unable to use strength of character to rise above his painful past, kindled by abuse Elliott's parents suffered in residential schools.
"So many have suffered because of residential schools, but that doesn't bring us to a violent state," Seymour told the News Leader Pictorial.
Judge Bracken cited Elliott's "brutality and degradation" against his two victims killed with "cold and calculated behaviour to avoid being caught."
He called Elliott's deadly actions "brutal, senseless, and callous."
"He's never been able to explain his conduct," Bracken noted, calling damage to the Stone and Jones families "incalculable."
The judge was particularly disturbed by testimony showing Stone was still alive when Elliott burned her body.
Bracken was also distressed about Jones being alive in the box of Elliott's truck before she was strangled and disfigured by him.
Those actions appeared to complement report findings showing experts were unconvinced about Elliott's remorse — despite face-to-face apologies to the two mothers — plus his high risk for sexual violence, and his history of sexual sadism.
Last July, Elliott pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder: one in the July 2010 killing of Stone, 42; the other in the January 2011 death of Jones, 18.
He told undercover police officers — posing as hoods in a gang he hoped to join — he had taken Stone to his home for sex.
Elliott said when Stone threatened to tell his wife, he bashed her over the head with a baseball bat, took her to a remote area of Glenora, and burned her while she was still alive.
The court heard a denture plate found near Stone's body matched another that was in Elliott's possession, and how her DNA matched that found on Elliott's bat and in a stain on a wall of his house.
The court also heard how Elliott accidentally hit Jones with his truck while she was going to meet a friend at Duncan's Superstore. Elliott put Jones in the back of his pickup, then drove behind the Shaker cemetery, along a dirt track leading to the woods.
He took her clothes off and choked her with her own bra. He hit her on the head, her teeth and her eyes with a stick and left her there. Then he took her clothes and burned them.