August 22, 2014 7:29 pm

Judge hands down double life sentences for Edmonton murders

Members of Curtis Dugray's family outside the Edmonton Courthouse on August 22, 2014.

Global News

EDMONTON — A judge sentenced Melvin Mitchell, 23, to two life sentences Friday after he pleaded guilty to two murders, interference with a dead body, attempted arson and robbery.

The second-degree murder sentences are to be served consecutively, and it will be 25 years before Mitchell is eligible for parole.

One of Mitchell’s victims was Jose Rodriguez. The 68-year-old was stabbed to death June 3, 2013 in his apartment on 83rd Street and Jasper Avenue.

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Police said the two men met at a work site, and Mitchell was invited back to Rodriguez’s apartment where an altercation occurred.

Mitchell also pleaded guilty to the murder of 51-year-old Curtis Dugray, who was found dead in Edmonton’s Oliver neighbourhood, near 99th Avenue and 111th Street on May 30, 2013.

READ MORE: Man facing charges in two Edmonton homicides

Following Friday’s sentencing, Dugray’s mother expressed compassion for her son’s killer and said she believes he can be rehabilitated.

“I just want to say that for this young man who took my son’s life, I have forgiven him,” said Marion Kowal. “I have no hate toward this man… no anger.”

“It was difficult to be in the same room knowing the crimes that he committed,” added Dugray’s daughter, Kaila Eisel. “But I also have an understanding of where he comes from and how he’s gotten to where is today. And I have compassion for him as well.”

After charging Mitchell with the two deaths in 2013, police said he is from the Northwest Territories, and had only been in the city for about 10 to 12 months.

“He is well-known to the police, not just in Edmonton but in the Northwest Territories,” said Staff Sgt. Bill Clark after Mitchell’s arrest. “Since his time in Edmonton, he’s basically been a homeless male. He’s of no fixed address.”

Dugray’s family said they believe Mitchell’s sentence is fair.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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