La Loche high school in La Loche, Sask. (The Canadian Press)

La Loche school shooter appeals life sentence

Young man, who cannot be named, killed four and injured seven in northern Saskatchewan

A young man who killed four people and injured seven others when he shot up a school and a home in northern Saskatchewan is appealing his adult sentence.

A judge sentenced the shooter last month to life in prison with no chance at parole for 10 years.

He was weeks away from his 18th birthday in January 2016 when he killed two teenage brothers at their home before he shot up the La Loche high school where a teacher and a teacher’s aide died.

Brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, teacher Adam Wood and teacher’s aide Marie Janvier died.

He was sentenced as an adult, but can’t be named because of his appeal.

His defence lawyer, Aaron Fox, said little about the appeal Tuesday other than that he will ask for the order directing that his client be sentenced as adult to be set aside.

“There’s really not much else I can say at this time,” Fox said. “That’s the issue: should he have been sentenced as a youth or an adult. We’re arguing that he should have been sentenced as a youth.

“That will be the issue on the appeal.”

READ MORE: ‘Get out of here!’ The story from inside the La Loche school shooting

No date has been set for the hearing. A court communications officer indicated it is unlikely to be scheduled before the Court of Appeal’s fall sittings.

During the sentencing in May, Judge Janet McIvor called the shootings “senseless” and “coldly horrific.”

“These school shootings were planned and calculated to inflict as much damage as possible,” she told court.

The shooter pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.

Court heard the shooter began formulating a plan as early as September 2015. He researched different kinds of guns and the damage they could do to people.

The night before the shootings, he did an online search asking, “What does it feel like to kill someone?”

McIvor said the shootings have had a lasting impact on the northern community. Fewer teachers are willing to work there and there has been an increase in substance abuse and suicides, the judge said.

Students in the community aren’t receiving the support they need and are being revictimized, she added.

The young man told court he can’t undo what he’s done, but he would if he could.

FEELING WHOLE AGAIN: How La Loche recovered from its own tragedy

His motive for the shooting is still unclear. Fox has said his client told him: “I ask myself that every day.”

The young man had been imprisoned at a provincial correctional centre, but was to serve his sentence in a federal penitentiary

Ryan McKenna, The Canadian Press

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