50 years without parole for double murderer would 'remove all hope' of rehabilitation: lawyer
Rocky Rambo Wei Nam Kam is seen in a court sketch.
VANCOUVER -- Imprisoning a Vancouver double murderer for life, without a chance at parole until he is 75 years old, would be a crushing sentence that would deny Rocky Rambo Wei Nam Kam even a chance to try and rehabilitate himself, his lawyer told B.C. Supreme Court at his sentencing hearing Thursday.
Lawyer Glen Orris was responding to prosecutors’ push to put Kam in jail for life with 50 years without parole — a sentence he said should be reserved for serial killers or killers of children and didn’t apply to the random attack on a Vancouver couple.
"The Canadian culture is one focused on, even in the most severe cases, the opportunity for redemption," Orris told Justice Laura Gerow. "You can’t sentence someone to a period of incarceration that removes all hope. That doesn’t reflect our values unless there are exceptional circumstances."
Kam was 25 when he bought a hatchet and gloves from a South Vancouver Canadian Tire in 2017. Weeks later he wandered through the city’s Marpole neighbourhood before settling on his victim, 64-year-old occupational therapist Dianna Mah-Jones.
He followed Mah-Jones to her South Vancouver home and slit her throat. Then, after hearing her husband Richard Jones enter the house, he attacked and killed him as well. Kam stacked the bodies in the shower and left the water running to destroy evidence, the court heard. He was in the house for over two hours.
Kam was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder last month. The minimum period of parole ineligibility is 25 years for a first-degree murder conviction.
Crown counsel Daniel Mulligan has said the time between those two murders indicates they were distinct criminal acts. If the judge agrees with him, she could decide to make the parole ineligibility periods consecutive.
That would mean Kam would face life in prison, with 50 years before he could apply for parole.
Mulligan told the court that Kam’s case is egregious enough that he deserves an exceptional sentence, adding that there are signs that the patterns of injury on Richmard Jones indicate some intention to torture Kam's victim.
“The Crown submits there are some murders that are more violent than others,” Mulligan said. “It was random, and committed against strangers solely for the gratification of Mr. Kam. Moreover, the manner of the killings, including gratuitous violence and prolonged suffering, puts Kam’s crime into a category all on its own.”
Kam did admit to his role in the killings in testimony, but has not given a clear explanation why he did it, Mulligan said. But that doesn't mean the court can't draw its own disturbing conclusions, he said.
"The reasons are obvious. He wanted to experience what it was like to kill someone and he wanted to prolong and relish the experience," Mulligan said.
Kam himself was offered a chance to address the judge during the sentencing hearing. After a long pause, Kam said, “I think I’m good, thanks.”