NEWS
02/15/2017 15:40 EST | Updated 02/16/2018 00:12 EST

Life sentence for Sherwood Park man who murdered estranged wife

A Sherwood Park man who pleaded guilty to the murder of his estranged wife was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with no chance of parole for 13 years.

In passing sentence, Justice Kevin Feehan cited several aggravating factors, including the fact that the murder happened "in a domestic setting" and that Beglau parked down the street and put on gloves before the killing.

At the time of killing, Beglau, 60, was not permitted inside Melanie Hunter's home and had been warned by the RCMP to have no contact with her.

Feehan said he took into account Beglau's guilty plea to second-degree murder, and the fact that the killer showed remorse and had no history of violence.

Wednesday's sentencing followed an emotional day in court last week, when Beglau pleaded guilty to the crime and his two adult children read powerful victim impact statements about the loss of their mother.

Court heard that Beglau and Hunter had separated after 29 years of marriage.

On Sept. 22, 2015, the two were scheduled to sign divorce papers. But that day Beglau broke into Hunter's Sherwood Park home and attacked her with a steak knife.

Hunter, 55, suffered multiple stab and slash wounds, including a cut to her throat so deep it injured her spine.

During her victim impact statement, Brianna Beglau stared directly at her father.

"My mom's gone, you killed her," she said. "You being six-foot-three and full of hate, she didn't stand a chance."

She and her brother, Corey, painted a picture of a wonderful mother who put her kids first and was enjoying her new-found freedom and independence.

Brianna, a teacher who lives in Australia, described her mother as her children's "biggest cheerleader, our whole world."

She said her mother had moved on after the marriage, "but it was clear my father hadn't."

'No person should ever have to see this'

Corey Beglau spoke about having to identify his mother's body and walking through the crime scene.

"No person should ever have to see this," he told court last week.

"I will never be the same person," he said. "I'm hurting, but nothing can undo the pain."

Brian Beglau told the court he took several sleeping pills on the day of the murder and has no recollection of his crime.

"I can't remember what happened," he said last week. "I wish I could change things. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm truly sorry."

Beglau had initially been charged with first-degree murder, but the Crown and defence agreed to accept a guilty plea to the lesser charge to avoid a trial.

Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence. 

The only thing left to be determined in court on Wednesday was the length of time Beglau will serve before he becomes eligible for parole.

The Crown had asked for 15 years without parole, while the defence had sought a period of 10 to 12 years.