An Airdrie man has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years after being found guilty of the second-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Kalix Langenau.
Langenau was last seen in northeast Calgary on Feb. 15, 2020, and his body was found two days later in a rural area southeast of Airdrie, police said.
21-year-old Hunter Van Mackleberg, who was 19 at the time, was found guilty of second-degree murder in February by Justice Glen Poelman.
In Poelman’s decision, the judge found that Van Mackleberg and Langenau were connected through a number of romantic relationships involving two women that they both dated over the course of several years and that Van Mackleberg took issue with those relationships.
Poelman concludes that he was convinced that Van Mackleberg met Langenau at a secluded property and murdered him by shooting him in the back of the head with a shotgun.
Friends and family of Langenau read their victim impact statements in court Thursday, reflecting on how the murder of Langenau has drastically altered their world.
After the sentencing, Kalix’s mother Tracy Henderson said the sentence was cold comfort for her. She also thanked RCMP and crown prosecutors for meting some justice to the family.
“If that’s the justice we have, then that’s the justice we will take,” she said.
Kalix’s father John broke down into tears when reflecting on the number of years the justice decided when Van Makleburg will first be eligible for parole.
“No sentence, no matter how long, will ever change the heartache that rips away at our soul every day. He should be here with us,” John said.
Crown prosecutors were seeking an 18-year term for Van Mackleberg’s parole eligibility.
“The justice had to balance the obviously heinous nature of the crime with the fact that there’s some prospect for Mr. Van Mackleberg to be rehabilitated,” Crown prosecutor James Sawa said. “And that is a difficult decision that he had to make.”
Part of Justice Poelman’s decision hinged on Van Mackleberg’s age at the time of the murder, Crown prosecutor Ron Simenik said after the sentence was handed down.
“It is a large factor in most case law on this point. So he did obviously emphasize that,” Simenik said.
“These are not easy decisions to make for anyone.”
The family said they want Langenau’s legacy to live on through his commitment to coaching minor hockey baseball and have set up the Kalix Langenau Foundation to help families in Airdrie cover program and equipment fees, so children can participate in local sports programs.