WINNIPEG — A man who is already serving a life sentence for murdering and dismembering his wife has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for killing another Manitoba woman nine years ago.
Traigo Andretti, who represented himself, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Myrna Letandre on Tuesday as her family wept in the courtroom.
WARNING: Graphic details follow.
Andretti admitted to strangling Letandre from behind, dragging her to the shower where he slit her throat and drained her blood. In an agreed statement of facts, he said he dismembered her, flushed some parts down the toilet and burned others, along with her clothing, in a garbage bin.
He buried her head in a basement crawl space at the Winnipeg rooming house he was living in and told people Letandre had gone to British Columbia with someone she met at a bar.
"It seemed, in hindsight, that I was absent, that I was just observing what I was doing to her body," Andretti told court softly. "I thought I loved her. The day before that, I had no idea it was going to happen."
After killing Letandre in 2006, Andretti continued living in the rooming house for almost a year. He showered in the same stall where he drained her blood and did his laundry in the basement where her head was hidden.
He blamed his medication for the killing, but asked for a maximum 25-year sentence.
"I'm sorry," he told Letandre's family. "But that seems very insufficient for the loss."
Justice Chris Martin called the murder "evil, vile and grotesque."
"There was really an absence of humanity," he told Andretti.
The judge said Andretti has very little chance for rehabilitation.
"You should be locked up for the rest of your natural life," said Martin.
The new sentence is concurrent to the one Andretti is already serving.
Letandre, who was 37 and originally from the Fairford First Nation, was reported missing by her sister in 2006. Her remains were found in the rooming house seven years later.
Last year, Andretti was given a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 25 years for the first-degree murder of his wife, Jennifer McPherson, who was also a longtime Winnipeg resident.
Police discovered McPherson's remains scattered on a remote island near Alert Bay, off the east coast of Vancouver Island, in 2013. The couple had been living there as caretakers of a fishing camp.
Crown attorney Sheila Leinburd said Andretti told police he tied McPherson to a tree before strangling and dismembering her. He buried some body parts, burned others and put some in lobster traps.
Letandre's family, who also knew McPherson, said they tried to tell police about Andretti but were ignored. Police have said they interviewed Andretti at the time of Letandre's disappearance.
Lorna Sinclair, Letandre's sister, told court that if police had listened, "Jennifer's death could have been prevented."
"I hope Mr. Andretti burns in hell,'' she said in her victim impact statement. "My sister was harmless. She deserved to live."
Letandre's case was part of Project Devote, a joint RCMP and Winnipeg police unit dedicated to solving 28 cases of missing or murdered women. Winnipeg Const. Jason Michalyshen said officers listened "loud and clear" to the family.
"We have been very motivated and dedicated to this investigation," he said. "We're absolutely pleased with the outcome of today's court proceedings."
Patty Sinclair, the victim's cousin, said Letandre was her best friend - a quiet woman with a soft voice whose smile lit up a room.
"Now she's numbered among the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada," she sobbed. "The hardest part is having to forgive this man that took her from us.
"Maybe now, Myrna can rest in peace."
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