Clayton Jacob Warkentin pleaded guilty in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Jan. 30, 2018 to the second-degree murder of his mother Lois Unger in 2016. (Facebook)

Life sentence for young B.C. man who murdered his mother

Clayton Warkentin sentenced to life for brutal 2016 killing of Lois Unger that shocked the community

Tears flowed in courtroom 202 in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack Tuesday as, one-by-one, victim impact statements were read aloud following Clayton Jacob Warkentin confession that he murdered his mother in 2016.

“I struggle to trust people, as one of the people I trusted most, my baby brother, killed my mother,” Clayton’s older brother Logan said in his victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing after the 21-year-old’s guilty plea to second-degree murder.

“How do I tell my children that their uncle killed their grandmother?”

When he was just 19, Clayton asphyxiated his 51-year-old mother, Lois Unger, to death in her Yarrow home on Feb. 24, 2016 then crudely tried to make it look like a suicide.

While an element of pre-planning may have existed, Crown agreed it wasn’t enough to prove first-degree murder, and Clayton killed his mother in a steroid-cocaine induced rage by forcibly covering her mouth and nose, possibly choking her.

• READ MORE: First degree murder charge laid in Yarrow woman’s death

Warkentin was first charged with the first-degree murder of his mother, a charge he was scheduled to go to trial for and had a pre-trial conference set earlier this month. Instead, he pleaded guilty to the lesser-included charge of second-degree murder on Jan. 30, which still comes with a mandatory life sentence.

The only question was parole eligibility of between 10 to 25 years. Crown counsel Grant Lindsey and Warkentin’s lawyer Gary Botting put forward a joint submission for 10 years.

In reading from an agreed statement of facts, Lindsey explained how Warkentin became obsessed with body building at the age of 15. Along with the body building came the use of steroids and human growth hormone. To counteract the soporific effects of the steroids, Clayton was using heavy doses of caffeine, something that later led to cocaine use and his subsequent dealing in the narcotic.

“Using cocaine did not help his financial situation,” Lindsey told the court, a reality that led Warkentin to desperate measures to fend off real or perceived threats from drug dealers to whom he owed money.

“Clayton felt this left him in a dangerous situation.”

Witnesses in his circle of friends told Crown that Warkentin told them he might kill his mother for the insurance money, a level of planning that led to the charge of first-degree murder. This was later suggested as nothing more than a sick joke, something Lindsey said the Crown accepted in order to allow for the plea to the lesser-included charge of second-degree murder.

Still, Unger was fearful enough of Clayton to have instituted an emergency plan with a close friend, a plan that had to be put into place on at least one evening prior to the murder when he showed up at her house unannounced.

The night of the killing, he was at the home on Yarrow Central Road at Unger’s invitation as a mother-son visit. He had consumed half an “eight ball” (an eighth of an ounce) of cocaine, Lindsey told the court, and as the cocaine wore off, his deep-seeded anger only grew.

While Crown read from an agreed statement of facts, Lindsey said that Clayton did not remember what happened next, although he later agreed to the outline as found by the forensic investigation.

After asphyxiating her to death in the bathroom, he brought his mother’s body to the garage where he affixed a noose around her neck, stabbed her in the neck post-mortem, then placed the knife in her hand.

Unger’s friend who was involved in her emergency plan called police when she did not respond to calls. Police attended on Feb. 24, 2016 around 10 p.m. to a locked door. They came back after 2 a.m. with a locksmith to find her dead in the garage.

Police saw through the bad suicide staging, and the investigation quickly identified Warkentin as the suspect. He was arrested a week later and has been in custody since then.

In court on Jan. 30, Warkentin wore a suit with a dress shirt and black-rimmed glasses. His hair close-cropped, with furrowed brow he looked down towards his feet for most of the proceedings, never once looking at the full gallery.

The 36-seat courtroom was packed to standing room only with extra chairs needed to accommodate the friends and family of the well-loved victim who was involved in the community and her church in Yarrow.

Many victim impact statements from friends and family were read into the record by Crown counsel Rebecca Beeny while Clayton’s older brother Logan and Unger’s brother Mark read their emotional statements themselves.

“The pain that my brother has put me through he will never understand,” an emotional Logan Warkentin said, never looking towards Clayton in the prisoner’s box, adding that if Clayton’s gangster pretensions were more than posing, he was concerned after an eventual release.

“If he is to embrace the lifestyle he portrays, I am seriously concerned for the safety of my family,” Logan said.

After Logan was the extremely emotional statement by Mark Unger, Lois’s brother, who said that it is now hard to even drive past the house in Yarrow where she lived.

Mark said the murder of his sister has led to personal concerns over depression and high blood pressure, and has deeply saddened him. Choking through tears, he concluded: “She was a beautiful person. She did not deserve this.”

Another element of the case that added insult to injury after the murder of Lois Unger, was Clayton taking two years to plead guilty but also the torment he added to his brother’s family with his lies. He told Logan that drug dealer’s killed their mother and that the people who did it, might come for his family next.

Warkentin has the word “Family” tattooed on the left side of his neck. Before his arrest in early 2016, the physically fit young man was active on social media mostly posting selfies of his upper body and his tattoos. In addition to the “Family” neck tattoo, Warkentin has “Love It Kill It” tattooed across his chest.

On Jan. 16, 2016, he posted a photo of himself on Instagram with the words: “The single word ‘Family’ means a lot to me, your born into a family but over the years of your life you meet people and start to care and trust them, they become more then just friends, but become your Family #loveitkillit #TYB #family #tribal #tribaltattoo.”

Justice Neill Brown was scheduled to finalize the sentence on Feb. 1.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

RCMP at the scene of a February 2016 homicide in Yarrow. Clayton Warkentin killed his mother Lois Unger and pleaded guilty on Jan. 30, 2018. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file) RCMP at the scene of a February 2016 homicide in Yarrow. Clayton Warkentin killed his mother Lois Unger and pleaded guilty on Jan. 30, 2018. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)

Just Posted

New mural in Abbotsford represents openness and community growth

Piece led by group passionate about youth development and promoting the arts

Builder battling Langley Township looks toward Langley City

Eric Woodward said he has put out some feelers about ““the possibility of looking at some options”

VIDEO: Fire destroys legal grow op in Langley

Blaze also touched off grass fire

Police investigate sexual assault in Abbotsford

Man grabs woman by shoulders and makes sexual comments

Fraser River water levels creeping towards near-record highs

Mission gauge currently reading just under 6 metres but forecasted to rise

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to Canada

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title

‘Concussion is at the forefront of our thinking’: Rodeo doctor

As in any other contact sport, concussion prevention and treatment efforts continue to evolve

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Most Read