Crown seeking up to 25-year sentence for Courtenay double murderer

Michael Philip Simard murdered Leanne Larocque and Gord Turner in 2016

Referring it to a “tragedy in gestation,” Crown attorney Bob Richardson has asked a supreme court judge to consider a minimum of a 22- to 25-year concurrent sentence for the man found guilty of two-second degree murder charges from an incident in Courtenay in Oct. 2016.

On Tuesday, a sentencing hearing began for Michael Philip Simard, 45, the man found guilty of the murders of Leanne Larocque and Gord Turner.

RELATED: Man convicted for Courtenay couple’s murder

In the early morning hours of Oct. 5, 2016, Comox Valley RCMP attended a home on the 2300 block of Urquhart Avenue in Courtenay, where Larocque and Turner were shot and killed with what Richardson described as “an assault rifle of considerable size and considerable power.”

Simard was transported to hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot injury.

Richardson said Simard walked about a mile to Larocque’s home with a loaded gun, and it was “almost inevitable that a tragedy was going to happen.”

He added Simard shot multiple times at the front door of the home to gain entry, proceeded to shoot Turner (but did not kill him immediately) and shot Larocque in the head.

Richardson explained Simard took a few moments to look through Larocque’s cell phone to confirm his suspicion of a relationship between her and Turner, before returning to shoot Turner in the head.

Simard, dressed in a standard-issue red Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre jumpsuit, sat in the prisoner’s box angled with his back to the packed gallery and kept his eyes pointed towards the floor.

Richardson referred to his criminal history and three breaches of his conditions as some of the factors for sentencing.

He also noted there are a variety of aggravating factors to be considered including there was more than one murder; the murders were done in what he called “execution-style” where the gun was raised “point-blank in front of their heads, ” the murders were done in reaction to an intimate partner, Simard broke and entered into Larocque’s home by shooting four holes in her door “Rambo-style,” and that he was not licensed to possess the firearm.

Richardson said some of the mitigating factors include the fact Simard admitted to the evidence and provided details to what he said was “cold-blooded murder.”

He said he has a history of substance abuse and the incident stemmed from “a product of jealousy and rage.”

Defence attorney Matt Nathanson was expected to begin his arguments Tuesday afternoon.

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