A Calgary judge says efforts by a man and woman to destroy evidence in a 2017 quadruple killing deserve a harsh punishment.
The Criminal Code dictates they will have to wait 25 years before they can apply for parole.
Kebede was convicted of being an accessory after Pfeiffer’s murder.
Nixon sentenced Liao to seven years and Kebede to six years on the accessory counts, to be served at the same time as their life sentences.
“I make this finding because of the gravity of the offences,” he said Thursday.
He said both had a high degree of moral culpability, their actions were planned and premeditated and that sending a message of denunciation and deterrence is paramount.
The judge said acting as an accessory to a murder causes serious crimes to go unsolved and lets dangerous criminals free to reoffend.
“Such crimes strike at the heart of our justice system.”
The Crown sought another six to seven years for Kebede and seven to eight years for Liao for the accessory offences. Kebede’s defence lawyer proposed 3 1/2 to five years on the accessory convictions, while Liao’s lawyer suggested six years.
The trial heard the deaths stemmed from a plot to kidnap Afowerk and hold him for ransom, and that he was tortured and killed when he was no longer of any use. The other three were killed because they were witnesses.
No one has been charged with killing Pfeiffer, Ear and Fox. The jury heard multiple people besides the accused were involved in the deaths.
Cody Pfeiffer’s father said he gets sick thinking about the fact that his son’s killer may still be out there.
“His life was brutally taken,” Troy Pfeiffer told reporters before the sentence. “He was put into a car and burned like a piece of garbage. And to hear these low numbers of five, seven years concurrent, it’s a kick in the face.”
Three victim impact statements were read in court.
Martha Afowerk told court that her brother was adored and that his loss has left her family broken and empty.
“The horrific decisions robbed us of the chance to grow old with him and watch him live the rest of his life.”
Terri Pfeiffer, shook with tears as she described how her son will never have the chance to become a husband, father or uncle.
“Without Cody, our family will always and forever be broken,” she said. “There’s a piece of us all missing now and that will never heal.”
Troy Pfeiffer said his son had a heart that was “too big for this world.”
“Cody wore his heart on his sleeve and always made sure somebody else’s day was better than his.”
There were no victim impact statements read by family of Fox and Ear, sisters from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation west of Calgary. Relatives have said they were loving mothers who had 16 children between them.
Outside court, their aunt Nancy Ear said she watched the girls grow up, and sitting through the court proceedings has been difficult.
“I’m trying to be strong,” she told reporters through tears.