The man convicted of killing Japanese student Natsumi Kogawa has been handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 14 years.
BC Supreme Court Justice Laura Gerow handed the sentence to 49-year-old William Schneider on Friday, along with a 3.5 year sentence for interfering with a human body, to be served concurrently.
“Mr. Schneider treated Ms. Kogawa’s body like garbage and left her to decompose in a suitcase,” said Justice Gerow in delivering the sentence, calling it a “random killing” of a “completely innocent young woman.”
Kogawa’s body was found in a suitcase in the bushes of the Gabriola Mansion in Vancouver’s West End in September 2016.
A jury found Schneider guilty of second-degree murder last month, and towards the end of the trial he pleaded guilty to a separate charge of interfering with a human body.
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Crown had asked for a life sentence with no chance of parole for 17 years, along with a concurrent sentence of four years for the crime of indignity to a body. Defence had sought a 10-year cap on parole eligibility.
On Friday, Schneider apologized to Kogawa’s family, saying, “I’m just so sorry for your pain.”
That followed emotional victim impact statements from Kogawa’s mother, brothers and friend on Thursday. Her mother Emily described her life following the murder as a “living hell,” and said Schneider’s failure to apologize was unforgivable.
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Kogawa, 30, was on a student visa and came to Canada in May 2016.
Over the course of the trial, the court heard psychiatric, personality and behavioural assessments that found Schneider’s drug and alcohol habits could make him a continued risk to the public.
It also heard audio recordings of his conversations with police. He has admitted to putting Kogawa’s body in the suitcase, but maintained he did not know how she died.
His defence argued that after the student died, Schneider panicked and made poor decisions.
-With files from Nadia Stewart and Rumina Daya