Graphic content warning: Some of the details in this story may be disturbing to some readers.
With little emotion, Lisa Freihaut sat in the prisoner’s box as a sentence of life in prison was handed down to her on Monday.
The 53-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder for the January 2016 death of her mother, 78-year-old Irene Carter of Lethbridge.
In April 2016, Freihaut gave a tearful plea to the public to help find her mother’s killer. Just days later, she was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Nearly two-and-a-half years later, Freihaut pleaded guilty and Carter’s family and friends received some details as to what happened the day the 78-year-old was killed.
In the agreed statement of facts, a violent attack was outlined.
Freihaut had remortgaged her mother’s home, taken money from her investments and sold her vehicles, all to fuel a gambling addiction.
The statement went on to say Carter confronted her daughter on Jan. 13, 2016 about her home being remortgaged without her knowledge. She got in a heated argument with her daughter, picked up a knife and told her to leave. Freihaut took the knife and stabbed her mother more than a dozen times, then pushed her down the stairs.
She saw her mother was still alive so she banged her head repeatedly on the floor until she quit moving.
Then, she removed all of the phone cords from the home so if Carter wasn’t dead, she couldn’t call for help.
“When you have a medical examiner who’s suggesting overkill, words to that effect, you never want to hear or see the pictures, the images and the descriptions of that,” Crown prosecutor Darwyn Ross said.
Days after Freihaut attacked her mother, she asked her husband to check on her mother, but she already knew her mother was dead.
Freihaut was arrested three-and-a-half months later.
Carter’s cousin, Renee Barton, read a victim impact statement. She called the death of her aunt a shock and the months following an emotional upheaval. She called Freihaut’s public plea “truly an Academy Award-winning deceitful performance.”
During sentencing, the judge said Freihaut went to great lengths to cover her tracks, pointing fingers at others and coming up with elaborate stories, even trying to get her own family members to lie to police for her.
Freihaut told the court she was sorry she hurt so many people close to her.
“For the rest of my, life I will regret this,” she said.
During sentencing submissions, defence lawyer Andre Oullette outlined a troubled upbringing. He told the judge his client has said Carter was very hard on her as a child and even into adulthood, calling their relationship strained.
“Certain days it was wonderful, her mother would buy her everything, give her all sorts of money and love and things and take the kids for trips,” he said.
“Then on other days, she would call her extremely derogatory names, treated her like anything but a daughter and in fact she kept saying, ‘We never should have adopted you.'”
Freihaut has been sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 11 years.