Townsend gets life, offers apology ‘for what happened’ (update)
12:34 p.m. update:
“I guess I’d like to apologize for what happened,” convicted murderer Johnathan Townsend told the judge in an almost inaudible voice just minutes before he was sentenced Thursday to life in a federal penitentiary.
“I’m not sure if I should say anything,” the 21-year-old replied when Superior Court Justice Michael Varpio asked if there was anything further he wanted to say.
“I think I’ll just leave it at that.”
A jury convicted Townsend of first-degree murder in the Aug. 8, 2013 death of Corellie Bonhomme on April 20. The 42-year-old exotic dancer died after he stabbed her in the neck with a kitchen knife. The body of the Quebec woman, who had been staying with Townsend, was found in the bathtub of his Lake Street apartment.
When he imposed the mandatory sentence of life with no parole eligibility for 25 years, Varpio said planning and deliberating murder is the most serious crime in the Criminal Code of Canada. The judge quoted what he called an Italian saying, telling Townsend “the only thing one can’t remedy is death.”
Referring to two victim impact statements the court had received from Bonhomme’s family, Varpio said the woman had a mother and children who loved her. In their statements, Bonhomme’s mother and sister described the pain they had endured from their loss and the consequences of Townsend’s decision.
“You will have to live the consequences of your decision,” Varpio told the young man, who stood, handcuffed, with his lawyer Jennifer Tremblay-Hall and a court security officer by his side.
“You will have opportunity to consider your decision and its impact.”
Bonhomme can’t do that, he said.
“You planned, deliberated her murder and acted,” Varpio said, adding “you proved there is no remedy” for Bonhomme. Although none of the victim’s relatives were in the courtroom, Varpio said to the Bonhomme family that he was truly sorry for their loss. Under the Criminal Code, after serving at least 15 years Townsend can apply for a reduction in the parole eligibility time, the court told him.
He has been in custody since Aug. 10, 2013 so the earliest he can make that application is 15 years from that date. During the trial, jurors viewed a video statement, Townsend, then 18, gave city police when he was arrested two days after the murder, where he admitted killing Bonhomme. The Crown’s evidence also included Skype chat logs of conversations with a young American girl that police found on his computer.
In the online chats, weeks prior to the woman’s death and on the night she was killed, Townsend talked about how much he hated “the stripper” and his plans to kill her. When he imposed sentence, Varpio ordered Townsend that he was not to have any communication with the victim’s family or the American girl while he is in custody. As well, Townsend must provide a DNA sample for the national registry and has a lifetime weapon prohibition.
11 a.m. original story:
A Superior Court judge has sentenced convicted murderer Johnathan Townsend to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. A jury found the 21-year-old Sault man guilty of first-degree murder in the Aug 8, 2013 stabbing death of Corellie Bonhomme last week. The body of the 42-year-old Quebec exotic dancer was found in the bathtub of Townsend’s Lake Street apartment.
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