CALGARY — After a day full of anger and tears, a Calgary man who admitted to slitting his girlfriend's throat and, days later, stabbing to death his mother and stepfather apologized to his victims' friends and families.
Dustin Duthie, 27, had earlier pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2018 deaths of Taylor Toller and Shawn Boshuk, and first-degree murder in the death of Alan Pennylegion.
He spent much of his time in court Friday with his head down and tears streaming down his face while victim impact statements were read. At the end of the sentencing hearing, he spoke to the court.
"I'm not going to stand here and try and ask you guys for forgiveness for what I did, because I understand what happened is inexcusable," Duthie said.
"If I could go back and take back everything that I did and give my life in order to bring back the three beautiful ... souls ... I wouldn't be standing here today. I'm sorry."
Family members expressed their rage in the courtroom.
"Taylor did not die from a heart defect or an accident. She died directly from a choice that Dustin made," Toller's aunt Kim Toller told the court.
"How broken do you have to be? There was no opportunity to say our goodbyes and remind her of our love for her. At night we all lay awake wondering what her last moments were like," she said, wiping away tears.
"Was she scared? Did she want her mom? Was she in pain? Did she know she was dying?"
She then directed her comments directly at Duthie.
"Dustin, take this time, learn a new trade, get clean, fight your demons," she said.
"Apologize, acknowledge and grow. You have not broken us if that was your goal."
An agreed statement of facts said Toller, Duthie's girlfriend of five years, was last seen on video footage from outside her condo unit about 4 a.m. on July 26, 2018. Duthie was captured on the video leaving the condo alone about an hour later.
Police found Toller, 24, five days later with her throat slit and "tucked into her bed as if she was asleep.''
On the same day she was discovered, Duthie stabbed Boshuk, his mother, six times in their home and covered her with a plastic sheet, the statement said.
It said Pennylegion witnessed Duthie cleaning his mother's blood in the kitchen and Duthie attacked his stepfather, stabbing him eight times.
The crimes carry an automatic life sentence.
Crown prosecutor Shane Parker said Duthie deserves to serve 35 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
"He is a volatile and angry young man. He selected his victims," Parker said.
"These were different sets of murders. Taylor's was for blood lust, curiosity."
Park said the remorse Duthie demonstrated with his 911 call and his guilty pleas "must be weighed against the cold and violent character who killed Taylor, his lover."
Duthie's lawyer, Ray Dieno, said his client should only serve 25 years before parole eligibility.
"All these individuals can be comforted by the fact that Mr. Duthie faces a life sentence< Dieno said.
"There's no doubt about that and if he ever walks the street again is an unknown."
During the hearing, relatives of the victims sobbed as the impact statements were read.
Pennylegion's son, David Pennylegion, said he feels "deeply lost, severely depressed" since the killings, and every holiday since has been "lonely and strange."
"Every day I think about them, miss them, wonder what it would be like to have them around now," he said.
"I have made a huge attempt to return to a normal life despite all the things Dustin has caused us."
Duthie is to be sentenced on April 8.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2021
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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press