The Crown is appealing the sentences imposed on Colton Steinhauer — one of the men who killed two Edmonton Mac’s convenience store clerks during robberies in December 2015.
On Sept. 6, Steinhauer was handed two concurrent (at the same time) life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years after being found guilty in the shootings at separate locations in south Edmonton.
He also received eight-year sentences for the robberies, which are being served at the same time as the murder sentences. He is currently incarcerated at the Edmonton Institution maximum security prison.
The Crown had asked for Steinhauer to serve his sentences consecutively (one after the other) and for him not be eligible for parole for 50 years, but Associate Chief Justice Ken Nielsen said the crimes did not warrant that punishment.
In its grounds for appeal, the Crown said the sentence is “demonstrably unfit” and the trial judge erred in the assessment of the aggravating and mitigating factors.
The Crown said the judge failed to properly assess section 745.51 of the Criminal Code which deals with ineligibility for parole in multiple-murder cases.
Steinhauer also filed a notice of appeal.
Court documents dated Oct. 4 show Steinhauer is appealing his conviction, alleging the “trial judge erred in law by failing to provide counsel with an opportunity to provide submissions when the jury submitted a question requesting a dictionary.”
He is also alleging there was a legal error by the judge “in dismissing (his) directed verdict application… by failing to consider the absence of evidence to establish first-degree murder.”
One of the other killers, Laylin Delorme, was also handed two concurrent life terms for first-degree murder. A teenager was convicted on two counts of manslaughter. Delorme’s sentences are being served simultaneously.
He is also appealing his conviction, saying it’s unreasonable and a miscarriage of justice. At the same time, the Crown is appealing his sentence, saying it wasn’t stiff enough and he too should be serving consecutive sentences.
The two clerks, Karanpal Bhanghu, 35, and Ricky Cenabre, 41, were killed on Dec. 18, 2015 at two different stores.
In an agreed statement of facts, Steinhauer admitted to driving with Laylin Delorme and a 13-year-old boy to a Mac’s store in southeast Edmonton.
The three entered the store near 32 Avenue and 82 Street in Mill Woods wearing masks. Delorme was carrying a gun. Steinhauer had a large bladed weapon and a bag.
The three took money and cigarettes from the store and assaulted Bhanghu. As they were leaving, Delorme fired at Bhanghu, who later died of gunshot wounds.
A short time later, the three travelled seven kilometres to a different Mac’s store in south Edmonton, near 109 Street and 61 Avenue in the Pleasantview area. They robbed and assaulted Cenabre.
Just before leaving the store, Steinhauer shot Cenabre, who died from a gunshot wound to the back.
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Police began conducting what they called a “grid search” of the city, systematically driving up and down streets and looking for all-night convenience stores.
The murder suspects were spotted outside a third Mac’s store in west Edmonton’s Callingwood neighbourhood and fled from police.
Steinhauer, Delorme and the 13-year-old were arrested when their vehicle crashed on Whitemud Drive at the Terwillegar Drive corner a short while later.
The fatal shootings were brutal, police said. Officers called them executions.
Bhangu had recently emigrated from India and Cenabre had come to Canada five years earlier from the Philippines.
The Mac’s stores in question have since been rebranded as Circle K stores, as part of a plan announced by Quebec-based parent company Alimentation Couche-Tard several months before the killings took place.