The sentencing hearing is set to begin Monday for Travis Vader, the man convicted of two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of Alberta couple Lyle and Marie McCann.
In September, Judge Denny Thomas found Vader guilty of second-degree murder in the deaths of the two seniors, who disappeared more than six years ago while on a road trip to British Columbia.
However, Thomas used Section 230 of the Criminal Code, which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 1990. The government didn’t remove the section from the books, as antiquated laws are rarely repealed.
Vader’s legal team applied for a mistrial.
On Oct. 31, Thomas denied the mistrial application and instead convicted Vader of manslaughter in the St. Albert couple’s deaths.
Bret McCann, Lyle and Marie’s son, said overall, his family was pleased with the judge’s decision and felt “comfortable” justice was being served.
“I was quite relieved we didn’t have to go through another trial.”
A manslaughter conviction carries no minimum sentence and has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
In Canada, any “culpable homicide” that doesn’t meet the definition of murder is considered manslaughter. Culpable homicide includes a person causing the death of another human by means of an unlawful act, by criminal negligence, by causing that person (through threats or fear of violence or deception) to do anything that causes their death or by wilfully frightening that person.
In September, Thomas said in his verdict that Vader was a desperate drug addict who came across the McCanns in their motorhome and shot them during a robbery in 2010. Their bodies have never been found.
TIMELINE: The key events in the Travis Vader case
The sentencing hearing is expected to last at least one week.