SURREY — Raymond Lee Caissie was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility to apply for parole for 17 years Friday morning in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, for the 2014 murder of Surrey teenager Serena Vermeersch.
Caissie, 46, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He stood in the prisoner’s box, dressed in red prison garb, and took the news quietly as Justice Gregory Bowden numbered him among “violent, merciless men without a conscience.”
Bowden noted Caissie’s defence lawyer Troy Anderson conceded his client will probably never be released from prison.
“He has never been a productive member of society,” the judge said of the killer. “He has been unmanageable in the community since a very young age and has spent the great majority of his life in custody for serious offences. Since becoming an adult, he has only spent one year and three months out of custody and in the community with the dire consequences that I have described.”
After the sentencing, Caissie swaggered out to the courtoom, escorted by a sheriff.
Vermeersch’s family declined to comment.
A Surrey Search and Rescue team found the 17-year-old girl’s body on Sept. 16, 2014, near railway tracks in the 14600-block of 66th Avenue in Sullivan.
Caissie, 43 at the time, was arrested the following week in Vancouver and charged with second-degree murder. He has spent most of his life behind bars for sexual assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, robbery, theft, and other crimes.
— Jude Hannah (@studiojude) September 21, 2017
The Crown and defence made a joint submission for Raymond Lee Caissie to not be eligible to apply for parole for 17 years, as he serves his mandatory life sentence.
The court heard Caissie, now 46, choked Vermeersch until she was unconscious after riding on the same bus with her.
When she exited the bus, he got off too and followed her for four blocks. She then turned down a dark path she used as a short cut home.
When he caught up to her on the path, he marched Vermeersch 580 feet to a secluded area at the edge of a cedar mill, where the teenage girl pulled an X-acto knife out of her purse and slashed Caissie’s neck, leaving a wound that required 22 stitches.
“Serena was a very brave young woman and tried to defend herself,” Bowden noted.
Crown prosecutor Colleen Stewart said Caissie then choked the teen unconscious and decided to kill her to silence her, given his lengthy criminal record dating back to the 1980s.
“His background is abysmal,” she said. “He has repeatedly terrorized women.”
Stewart read victim impact statements from Vermeersch’s family and friends. “Why didn’t I pick her up at the bus stop?” her mom’s statement read. “I regret it over and over. I failed her.”
Asked if Caissie has expressed remorse for killing Vermeersch, Anderson told reporters “I don’t discuss my conversations with my clients.”