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UPDATE: Joel Clow gets life in prison, no parole for 17 years

Joel Lawrence Clow is seen at the Kings County RCMP detachment after his arrest in July 2015.
Joel Lawrence Clow is seen at the Kings County RCMP detachment after his arrest in July 2015.

Joel Lawrence Clow won't be eligible for parole for 17 years after a P.E.I. Supreme Court judge sentenced him Monday morning to life in prison. 

He will be 65 by time he gets his first chance at freedom.

In July, Justice Nancy Key found Clow guilty of the second-degree murder of Traci Lynch. 

Before Key delivered the sentence Monday in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown, she addressed everyone in the room asking them to be calm while she read her decision.

“I know that this will be an emotional day for everyone in this room,” she said.

Key found Clow guilty after a trial that heard Lynch was badly beaten on July 24, 2015, with injuries to her face, neck, torso, back and extremities.

Lynch died of a blunt-force blow to the head and strangulation.

Clow acknowledged his actions were responsible for Lynch’s death, but he denied that he meant to kill her.

When he appeared in court Monday, Clow was handcuffed in the prisoner’s box where he sat alone.

A microphone stood on a stand near one of the gaps in the glass that separated Clow from everyone else in the courtroom.

He used that microphone Monday to enter a guilty plea to a count of indecent interference with human remains.

Key later gave him the chance to address the court before hearing his sentence, but he declined with a simple “no.”

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More from the Clow trial

Day 1: Clow murder trial hears testimony from witnesses who found blood, hair, drag marks

Day 2: Joel Clow asked P.E.I. police why they didn't shoot him, trial hears

Day 3: Traci Lynch told friends she was scared of Joel Clow, murder trial hears

Day 4: Strangulation, blunt head trauma caused Traci Lynch's death, P.E.I. murder trial hears

Day 5: Judge considering what evidence will be admissible in Clow murder trial

Day 6: Wet women’s clothing, possible blood traces found in Clow's home

Day 7: 'I didn't intend to kill nobody,' Clow told P.E.I. police about Traci Lynch

Day 8: Expert says Clow was in drug-induced psychotic state when Traci Lynch died

Day 9: Defence rests after psychiatrist testifies about Clow’s mental state

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During the morning's proceedings the court heard victim impact statements from Lynch's family members, including a sister who said Lynch was on her mind every day.

"Traci's death has emotionally drained me."

Lynch’s sister said her family was serving a life a sentence.

“This will impact my life forever,” she said.

That sister later left the courtroom in tears as she listened to someone reading a victim impact statement her mother wrote.

Lynch’s mother wrote that she couldn’t stop thinking about what Clow did to her daughter.

She also wrote that she had to tell Lynch’s son what Clow did to his mother.

“There are no words to explain how this felt.”

Clow showed little emotion in the prisoner's box where he leaned over at times to sip from a paper cup on the window ledge. He did, however, lift his hand-cuffed hands to wave to his family before they left the courtroom.

With the second-degree murder conviction, Clow went into court Monday facing a life sentence and a question of how long he would be in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Crown attorney Cyndria Wedge argued for 22 years before parole eligibility, while defence lawyer Joel Pink sought 15 years.

Although the court requested a pre-sentence report, Clow told the probation officer preparing it that he wasn't interested in participating, saying he didn't see the value in it. 

Key referred to the victim impact statements in her decision, saying the sense of loss was “palpable” in each of them.

She saw no remorse in Clow, including when he had an opportunity to address the court during his sentencing, Key said.

Clow, who has been in custody for more than 800 days, was also sentenced to two years in prison to be served concurrently for indecent interference with human remains.

He will be under a lifetime weapons prohibition and had to provide a DNA sample for the national databank.

 

Ryan.ross@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/ryanrross

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