The widow of one of the Penticton quadruple murder victims said the sentence the shooter received in court on Thursday was what she had been expecting.
In April 2019, Brittain shot Rudi Winter, Susan and Barry Wonch, and Darlene Knippelberg. They were all seniors, and three of them were killed in their own homes.
The 69-year-old shooter was given a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
“That’s what I figured was going to happen, and it’s OK. My husband won’t be brought back, so what can I say,” Renate Winter said.
On Wednesday, Brittain pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder, which carries an automatic life sentence.
The Crown asked for him to receive parole ineligibility of 40 years, which would mean a consecutive sentence, while the defence argued for a concurrent sentence.
The judge ultimately sentenced the senior to the minimum parole ineligibility period for first-degree murder of 25 years.
“It should have been more,” said Mike Cudmore, family to Susan and Barry Wonch.
Renate said the families would have to live with their loss for the rest of their lives.
“It’s been a living hell. It’s been awful. It’s been horrible,” she said.
“It’s made us all extremely angry, and upset and short with people. It’s devastated us, it has absolutely devastated us,” Renate added.
In court Thursday morning, Brittain apologized to the families of his murder victims.
“I’m not sure whether I’m ready to accept it yet,” Renate said. “I don’t know how sincere it was. It certainly looked sincere when he was saying it, but I don’t know if I can accept it just yet.”
Court heard that at the time of the crime, the shooter was still close with his ex-wife Katherine, who had a series of ongoing neighbourhood grievances against her neighbours. They became Brittain’s victims when he snapped.
Katherine Brittain released a statement through her lawyer, saying that she had no prior knowledge that her ex-husband intended to kill anyone and never suggested that he do so.
“Mr. Brittain’s actions destroyed the lives of the families of the victims, and Ms. Brittain’s own life. She cannot fathom how he could ever believe that, in taking these lives, he was somehow helping her,” the statement said.
“She only hopes that with Mr. Brittain taking proper responsibility for his actions, and the court sentencing him appropriately, the Penticton community can begin to heal and that people, particularly the families of the victims with whom she deeply sympathizes, will accept that she had no part in his horrific actions.”
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