ALBERTA

William Bicknell, Killer Who Escaped On Day Pass, Took Hostages Sentenced To Life

11/13/2013 06:04 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
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EDMONTON - A convicted killer has received a second life sentence for escaping while on a prison day pass and taking several people hostage in Alberta.

William Bicknell, who is 45, was first sentenced to life in prison in 2003 for the beating death of a British Columbia woman.

He was granted an escorted pass in 2011 from the minimum-security section of Drumheller Institution to visit his sister in Edmonton.

On the ride back, he pulled a knife on the lone guard who was driving and, over the next 10 days, held the guard and three other people hostage in their homes at various times.

Bicknell was taken back into custody after a dramatic car chase and shootout with RCMP during which he was shot twice in the head.

Justice Eric Macklin recommended that Bicknell have no chance for parole for 8 1/2 years.

Crown prosecutor Orest Yereniuk said the sentence sends a message to would-be criminals in Alberta.

"The fact that a life sentence was imposed for home invasions, b and e's and armed robberies and escaping lawful custodies and shooting at police officers just shows that in Alberta we believe in our safe communities and when you commit these types of egregious offences in Alberta, life is a potential sentence for you," Yereniuk said outside court.

On Tuesday, Bicknell pleaded guilty to 14 charges, including unlawful confinement, escaping lawful custody, robbery and weapons offences.

Court heard that he didn't hurt his captives, but along the way collected an arsenal of guns and ammunition.

Yereniuk praised police for how they handled Bicknell.

"It's one thing in Depot to be trained, but when you get into a firefight and a gunfight as happened here, disabling vehicles, an HK semi-automatic rifle being shot at you, you're overpowered by these firearms — they did an exemplary job to preserve our safe communities."

Bicknell is now being held in solitary confinement in a Quebec prison.

His sister, Sandra Lynn Myshak, has been charged with aiding in her brother's escape. She has yet to go to trial.

(CFCW, CHED)

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