VICTORIA, B.C. – Two youths who brutally raped and murdered 18-year-old Kimberly Proctor last year have been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 10 years.
Today, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston sentenced Kruse Wellwood, 17, and Cameron Moffat, 18, as adults and lifted the publication ban that had been protecting their identities since their arrest last June. He decided a youth sentence would not be of sufficient length to hold the teens accountable for their offending behavour and imposed an adult sentence.
“It goes without saying first-degree murder with intent to kill is the most serious of offences. The circumstances of this murder as admitted by the young persons are so horrific that no words can adequately convey the inhumane cruelty these young men showed Miss Proctor,” said Johnston.
“They planned in avdance to sexually assault and kill Miss Proctor. They chose her because they thought she would be an easy target, not necessarily because either of them had any ill will towards her.”
A placement hearing will be held several weeks from now to determine whether they will begin serving their sentence in a federal prison or remain at the Youth Detention Centre until they are 20. The date for that hearing will be set on April 13. The Crown will ask the court to place the teens in the adult correctional system. The teens will be held at the Youth Detention Centre until that hearing.
In October, Wellwood and Moffat pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Proctor, whose badly burned body was found under a bridge on the Galloping Goose Trail on March 19, 2010. The two admitted they lured the Grade 12 student to one of their homes, tied her up, gagged her, sexually assaulted her, beat her, suffocated her and mutilated her body with a knife over several hours. They then put her body in a freezer, and the next day travelled to the Galloping Goose Trail and set it on fire.
This morning, Johnston also sentenced Wellwood and Moffat to five-year concurrent sentences on the charge of indignity to human remains.
Wellwood, who had been crying during the hearing, stood first, hands clasped in front, with lawyer Bob Jones by his side while Johnston sentenced him to life in prison. One person in the public gallery burst out crying.
Proctor’s mother, Lucia, who was sitting in the front row beside her husband, cried throughout the proceedings, wiping away tears as the judge imposed the life sentences on the youths.
Last week, during a grim two-day sentencing hearing, Crown prosecutor Peter Juk urged Johnston to impose adult sentences for the protection of the public.
Jones, who is representing Wellwood, and Steven Kelliher, who is representing Moffat, did not oppose the Crown’s application for an adult sentence.
“There was no point in making submissions,” Jones said after the hearing last week. “To have done so would have insulted the intelligence of the judge and not afforded the situation the dignity it deserved. We did our best for our clients, but we also wished to avoid a media circus like Reena Virk. We wanted to consider the feelings of the Proctor family as well.”
Jones will urge the court to keep Wellwood at the youth centre.
“The Crown might apply to move him to a federal institution because there aren’t facilities to treat him at the youth centre. But there are forensic psychiatric clinics in this town and you have to consider his age. I’m of the view, he’s doing well at the youth detention centre,” said Jones.
Wellwood is subject to control and discipline in the secure environment.
“He’s not beating up all the other kids. If anything, he’s had to ward off a lot of stuff himself.”
In eerily similar circumstances, Wellwood’s father, Robert Dezwaan, is serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder of 16-year-old Cherish Billy Oppenheim in Merritt. Dezwann got her drunk, sexually assaulted her and beat her to death.
Growing up, Wellwood was taunted continuously by other children once the information about his father was made public, said Jones.
“He’s still only 17 and to place him in the hardened environment of the federal penitentiary where he is going to be the subject of bullying or sex attacks has made him very afraid. I don’t know if that’s because his father is there and has told him things or if it would also create problems for his father,” said Jones.
Kelliher said he would not oppose Moffat’s transfer to the federal system.
“The evidence is overwhelming they can’t be treated in the juvenile system. It suggests they can be best treated in the federal system. We hope the classification will take into consideration his family is here in B.C. That’s a huge factor for a young person.
“And it mustn’t be wholly forgotten these young people have families too and that they are suffering terribly.”
Court-ordered psychiatric and psychological reports on the teens – who were 16 and 17 at the time of the murder – show they are at a high risk to re-offend violently and sexually for up to 40 years. The reports also show there is little chance they can be rehabilitated.
Wellwood has been diagnosed as a sexual sadist – a tendency to derive sexual gratification from inflicting pain – with very strong psychopathic traits and strong indicators for necrophilia, an erotic attraction to corpses. A psychologist found him to be aroused by the physical and psychological suffering of others, had rape fantasies and was interested in bondage and sexual asphyxia.
Moffat was not diagnosed as a sexual sadist but has a tendency to sexual deviance and the risk and thrill that go along with it. He has had conduct disorder that began in early childhood which involves defiant, anti-social behaviour.
The Times Colonist, Global Television and other media have made an application to get copies of exhibits including the court-ordered reports and wiretap intercepts.