Convicted murderer Nick Vanasse sentenced to life in prison
Nick Vanasse has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years for the second-degree murder of Steven Butler and an additional four years for the aggravated assault of Butler’s son Bradley.
"You killed more than just my best friend and husband that day,” Butler’s widow Nicole told court in a victim impact statement. “You took a good family and tore it apart for nothing more than your ego."
Butler’s mother, looking directly at Vanasse who didn’t make eye contact, said "I will never be the same. I'm broken and I will never mend. It's not something you get over. This will be with me ‘til the day I die."
Vanasse’s defence lawyer Michael Smith said Vanasse’s actions were “completely out of character” and said he is a "kind-hearted, quiet, family-oriented, non-violent individual.”
Smith said he was happy with the sentence Justice Kevin Phillips handed down.
"That way gives Nick a really good chance to, you know, do better and rehabilitate and that's what the system's about so I'm happy about that," Smith said.
The Crown says Vanasse has never shown remorse for his actions. When asked by Justice Phillips if he had anything to say, Vanasse replied "I wish this never ever happened."
"He didn't have to look at us, just tell the judge, 'I'm sorry for what I did that night, for my actions,' there was nothing," said Butler's mother after the ruling.
Delivering his sentence, Justice Phillips said "Mr. Vanasse let himself get caught up in a stupid chain of events that had him making one bad decision after another. In my view, it was all fuelled by immaturity, insecurity, and cowardice."
During the emotional victim impact of Butler's wife and mother, some people supporting Vanasse smiled, chuckled, and rolled their eyes at some of what was being said. His mother noticed and was visibly upset. Victim services went to speak with the Crown as a police officer asked to speak with one woman outside. She later returned to the courtroom.
Justice Phillips spoke directly to Butler’s family after they delivered their victim impact statements, saying "they really bring home the depth of your grief and the extent of your loss."
Butler's sister says they're now focused on healing
"We're so appreciative that we can go home knowing Steven and Bradley have some justice and we can maybe see some light now," said Sandra Ross.