The man who brutally murdered and disembowelled 51-year-old Marcel Couillard in 2015 will serve a life sentence in prison with no eligibility for parole for 13 years, six months.
The life sentence is mandatory, as Reginald Berard, 26, was found guilty of second-degree murder in October 2018. The range for eligibility for parole in a second-degree murder conviction is 10 to 25 years.
The Crown and defence argued on Jan. 11 at what that eligibility for parole should be set.
Defence lawyer Terry Waltenbury was asking for 11 years before eligibility for parole. The Crown was asking for 15 years.
Court heard that Couillard's body was found in a pool of blood on the floor of his own apartment on Melvin Avenue on Nov. 3, 2015. He had 11 stab wounds to his body, including the fatal wound on his back. Couillard had been disembowelled .
There were no defensive wounds on Couillard's body, and he had an 'exceptional' blood alcohol content at the time of his death, said assistant Crown attorney Kevin Ludgate. Couillard had cuts to his throat, as well, although they were superficial.
“Characterizing this act as brutal doesn't do it justice,” Ludgate said. “(Berard) has shown no insight and no general remorse for his actions.”
Berard has an extensive criminal record with 30 separate convictions ranging from the time he was 18 years old to 23 years old. He was on a probation order at the time he killed Couillard.
Through their victim impact statements, Couillard's family and friends describe him as a sweetheart, someone who is more than a brother, and a person who didn't have much, but would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. His murder has affected them all, some suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, some having troubles sleeping, and some even afraid to go outside in public.
Media reports say material from the crime scene sent for testing found DNA from Berard, who initially did not implicate himself in Couillard’s death. He even willingly provided the DNA to police.
Berard told officers in November 2015 that he and Couillard got into a heated argument in the apartment. Berard said he got angry and struck Couillard repeatedly on the left side of his head. He then took a kitchen knife and stabbed Couillard repeatedly, because voices in his head told him to.
Officers then seized his boots, which were sent for DNA testing. Couillard’s blood was found on both of them.
Berard was living on nearby Bessie Avenue at the time of murder. He has been in jail since.
In addressing Couillard's family and friends, Berard, who held an eagle's feather for the majority of his sentencing hearing, apologized for doing “something beyond anyone's imagination.”
He said he is sorry that he can't give back the life he took.