Ian Bush found guilty of 2007 triple-murder
Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017 4:10PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 17, 2017 6:52PM EDT
Nearly a decade after three Ottawa seniors were violently killed in a crime that shocked the city, a jury has found Ian Bush guilty of murdering them.
Bush, 62, was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday in the June 2007 deaths of retired tax judge Alban Garon, his wife, Raymonde and the couple’s neighbor and friend, Marie-Claire Beniskos.
"Your crimes are inexplicable and incomprehensible," Superior Court Justice Colin McKinnon told Bush after the verdict. "The gratuitous and spectactular violence visited upon your victims leaves one totally incapable of divining the depths of your evil."
The jury came to the decision after less than two hours of deliberation, an unprecedently short time for a case of this magnitude. The trial began in early April.
The verdict provoked emotional reactions from friends of the victims and law enforcement officials in the courtroom. "I'm just so glad it's over," said a sobbing Jean Perley, a Garon family friend. "I hope he rots in hell."
In a victim impact statement from a friend of Beniskos, read out by a Crown attorney, said Bush killed three innocent people he didn't even know "for fun, greed and attention."
"You have bestowed a lot of pain on a lot of people," the statement said. "You are beyond rehabilitation. God forbid you should ever be free in society again."
Ottawa Police Staff Sgt. Dan Brennan, who started working on the case in 2011, choked back tears speaking to reporters outside the courthouse.
"The entire team spent time away from their families," he said. "But it pales in comparison to what these families have gone through," he said.
The June 2007 crime at a condominium building on Riverside Drive shocked Ottawa residents. Garon, 77, Raymonde, 73 and Beniskos, 78, were found beaten, bound and gagged in the Garons’ home.
The horrific crime remained unsolved for years, but a 2014 home invasion at the New Edinburgh home of a World War II veteran led to a break.
A man broke into Ernest Cote's home and asked for money. When Cote refused, the man tied him up and put a bag over his head, before searching his apartment and fleeing. Cote was able to free himself, and Bush was arrested the following day.
Cote has since died. Bush has been charged with attempted murder and other offences in that case, which is due to go to trial in the fall.
DNA evidence in that case led police to link Bush to the triple-murder. However, jurors in Bush's triple-murder trial wasn't told about the Cote case.
In the end, it didn't matter. Bush's conviction came on the strength of overwhelming DNA evidence. His DNA was found in the form of a hair in the Garons’ condominium. The metal bar he used to beat Alban Garon to death was entered into evidence.
And years after the crime, a black bag police seized from Bush's home had ropes, duct tape, a rifle and plastic bags in it. They also found a list titled "process" which looked like a recipe for murder.
On Wednesday, Justice McKinnon also remarked on Bush's continuing contempt for the court proceedings, including a refusal to stand when he was supposed to and continuous smirking throughout the trial.
"You have shown a continuing contempt for me, you have refused to stand up whenever I entered this room," he said. "I have not commented upon that until now, but I thought it should be worthy of comment because you have been so contemptuous."
Crown attorney James Cavanagh echoed those thoughts outside the courtroom.
"Even after being convicted of perhaps the most horrific crimes you can imagine ... he was grinning as he walked out of the courtroom. I think that is maybe the best was of evaluating what Ian Bush is," he said.
Bush's conviction carries an automatic penalty of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.