Although Reuben Buhler will automatically be sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of second-degree murder, he will still have to attend a sentencing hearing.
The hearing will determine how soon Buhler can be eligible for parole. The sentencing hearing has been set for Oct. 23, 2017 in Smithers.
Buhler’s lawyer, Jordan Allingham, said Buhler pleaded guilty “out of remorse,” and that he did not want the victims’ families to have to go though a trial.
“We will advance the position at sentencing that because these pleas were entered prior to trial and Mr. Buhler’s genuine remorse, that a 15 to 20 year parole ineligibility period will be appropriate in this case.” said Allingham.
According to the B.C. Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, in the case of second-degree murder, the amount of time that must pass before the offender is eligible for parole is between 10 and 25 years.
Allana Watson, sister-in-law of one of the victims, said Buhler should never be eligible for parole as his behavior on April 27, 2015 “proved he has no control of his emotions.”
On April 27, 2015, at 8:25 a.m., the Burns Lake RCMP attended a residence in the 200 block of Fifth Avenue in Burns Lake after receiving a report of potential foul play. Neighbours said they heard gun shots ring out earlier that morning. When officers entered the residence, they found three people – Ridge Vern Vienneau, Ehr Ola Andersen and Mitchel Wade Ruttan – dead inside.