Convicted murderer Mark Lindsay was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 16 years in Red Deer’s Court of Queen’s Bench on Thursday.
Lindsay, 29, was found guilty of second degree murder in May. He was charged in 2011 after the body of his then girlfriend, Dana Turner, 31, was found in a ditch near Innisfail.
Lindsay, who is the adopted son of a former Edmonton police chief, has admitted to murdering Turner by stabbing her in the eyes with a pencil, strangling her and running over her with a vehicle.
Lindsay’s lawyers had argued over the course of his trial, held earlier this year, that Lindsay was not criminally responsible for Turner’s death and that he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the murder.
A second degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with parole eligibility to be decided.
Both the crown and defense presented a joint submission of 16 years in prison before Lindsay would be eligible for parole.
Justice Eldon Simpson handed down his sentence on Thursday afternoon. “Your claims of not being criminally responsible were not made out. Obviously from your youth you have dealt with mental health issues. I suggest you deal with whatever problems that have brought you here today.”
Afterwards, Wendy Yurko, Turner’s mother said no amount of justice will bring her daughter back.
“There is nothing that can begin to provide closure for my family. It just means we are getting older without Dana,” she said.
Yurko added she now wants to make a difference.
“I want to write a book about my daughter so that her sons don’t forget how beautiful their mama was,” she said. “And then I want to work to change our system because I’ve said all along how awful I think the system is and if I don’t do anything then I am just as guilty as they are. When I gather my breath and have a little bit of time to relax, I want to work at changing the system. I don’t know how yet, but I do know the right opportunity will come and I will be there.”
Meanwhile, during the trial defense lawyer Kent Teskey said Lindsay was mentally ill at the time of the offense.
“Mr. Lindsay was profoundly ill in 2011 when the index offense took place,” he said, adding that records show that Lindsay has suffered from mental illness since 2005. “Mr. Lindsay has a disease of the mind which is schizophrenia and that was not contradicted (throughout the trial). Dana Turner died a horrific, violent and tragic death,” said Teskey. He added the question is what was the mental state of Lindsay during that time?
He said even though Lindsay has admitted to substance abuse, Lindsay would not continue to show any signs of psychosis if it was substance induced like the crown had alleged during the trial.
“We heard that once withdrawals are complete, symptoms should subside,” said Teskey. “Mr. Lindsay continues to be psychotic with abstinence and continues to be psychotic today.”
Defense Lawyer Curtis Steeves added Lindsay believed that Turner was a supernatural woman. “He was scared of this supernatural woman that he was about to kill.”
Teskey added Lindsay’s ‘delusional system’ got completely out of control as he continued to believe there were healers and assassins and he was going to be killed imminently.
Meanwhile, Crown Prosecutor Bina Border said there was unreliability in the evidence presented during the trial.
“(Mr. Lindsay) was not suffering from mental illness to warrant NCR (not criminally responsible),” she said. “He was not in a psychotic state at the time of the offenses. Mr. Lindsay knew his acts were morally wrong.”
Crown Prosecutor Ed Ring added there was, “Abundant evidence to support Mark Lindsay was aware of his actions (at the time of the offense). He expressed no fear of Ms. Turner before he stabbed her and videos leading up to the offense show Mark Lindsay to be acting normal in demeanour.”