REGINA — A Saskatchewan man who has never explained why he shot and killed his wife was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with no chance at parole for 17 years.
John Strang was originally charged with first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this month. His lawyer told court after the plea that his client had "no explanation for what he has done."
Lisa Strang, 47, was found dead on a sofa in the basement of their home in McLean, Sask., in August 2015. She had been shot in the back — the bullet pierced her heart — and in the head.
She was finance director for the Saskatchewan Party and had become more vocal about her unhappy marriage and having to pay off her husband's debts.
Patrick Bundrock, the party's executive director, said she was "a wonderful individual and a good friend to all of us."
He said the sentence does bring some closure, but one important question remains for those who still grieve her death.
"The one thing that we have never, ever heard is why, and we deserve to know why," Bundrock said outside court.
Strang appeared emotionless as Justice Ellen Gunn delivered her sentence for what she called a deplorable and unexplainable crime.
Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence. Both lawyers recommended Strang not be eligible for parole for 17 years.
"The sentence speaks for itself as to the severity of the offence," said defence lawyer Brian Smith. "It took a lot of work to get there, so it's a result we're satisfied with."
"We really did need to get a significantly increased parole eligibility from the minimum allowable, which is 10 years," added Crown prosecutor Kelly Kaip.
Lisa Strang was described by her colleagues as a meticulous and hard-working person with an amazing memory and kind soul. She would craft blankets for co-workers having babies.
Court heard that she was unhappy about her husband's spending habits which racked up a lot of debt she consistently paid off, but that required them to remortgage their house.
But she was trying to turn her life around, had lost 100 pounds by walking a treadmill every night and appeared more confident and happy.
Court was also told that she had wanted a divorce months before she was killed and her husband had accused her of having an affair.
Relatives described him as a controlling person who kept her alienated from her friends and family.
"It's unfortunate in the circumstances that Miss Strang, who had made so many steps to change ... her professional and personal life (had) those opportunities taken from her," said Kaip.
"She would have had a lot of support had she made it known that she was going to leave Mr. Strang. That being said, he was successful in isolating her."
Officers uncovered an arsenal of weapons in John Strang's Jeep — including guns, ammunition, handcuffs, duct tape. More weapons and ammo were found at his home.
Strang, 50, was charged two days after his wife's body was found. Court heard that he confessed to a friend.
The friend contacted police, who then found the body. Officers who searched Strang's Jeep recovered the handgun that he had used.
Strang was also given a two-year sentence — to be served concurrently — for uttering threats against the woman to whom he confessed.
He has asked to serve his sentence in Alberta to be closer to his sister.
(CJME, CTV Regina, The Canadian Press)