The man found guilty of two-second degree murder charges from an incident in Courtenay in Oct. 2016 was sentenced to life in prison and will not be eligible to apply for parole for 18 years.
Thursday afternoon in Courtenay Supreme Court, Michael Philip Simard, 45, dressed in a standard-issue red Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre jumpsuit, looked at the ground and did not show any reaction or emotion in the prisoner’s box as Justice Douglas Thompson delivered his sentence.
Thompson said Simard killed his former partner Leanne Larocque, 42, in the head and her close male friend Gord Turner, 45, on Oct. 5, 2016 after he shot his way into Larocque’s home in Courtenay with an SKS semi-automatic rifle loaded with an oversized magazine and 10 rounds.
Simard was transported to hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot injury.
He noted “Mr. Simard was bent on taking revenge” when he found out that Larocque, his former girlfriend, was with another man and “killed in a jealous fury.”
Simard was previously arrested for mischief when he damaged Larocque’s home in April 2016, and had breached terms of his probation.
Thompson explained to the court the crime was “a depressingly familiar” situation where “the state of mind is so common in men when they commit violence on their intimate partners.”
He explained during sentencing considerations, he placed great weight on the fact that Simard “executed two people, and killed in a context of intimate partner violence,” and the fact that he breached conditions that were in place to protect Larocque from violence.
The sentence for the two-second degree charges will be served concurrently, and Simard will also be subjected to a firearms/ammunition prohibition for life as well a bodily sample must be provided to the National DNA Data Bank.
Outside the courthouse, the families of Larocque and Turner said they were happy to find some closure.
“We have had 53 days of court, and we are happy to have it come to a close today. Our lawyers were terrific. They got a good sentencing and the judge did an excellent job. We realize that we’re not in control (of the sentencing),” noted Turner’s mother Ruth.
Ron Kelly, Larocque’s father, said the families have to live with the decision the judge presented but added the sentence was the best it could be given the circumstances.
“I thought it was a good sentence, but I think the law’s got to change. I think they should be charged for murder twice – not once. I think the laws in Canada need to be changed for a situation like that.”
Carmen Peacey, Larocque’s sister, said she believes Simard is hurting for what he did to her sister and Turner. “He’s a human just like we all are, he’s going to be sorry and he’s going to reap what he’s done.”
She added now that the sentence has been handed down, she can begin the process of coping with the loss of her sibling.
“I haven’t dealt with this yet, so now I can.”