Man who killed Vancouver couple given life sentence with no parole for 25 years
VANCOUVER -- Warning: Disturbing content.
Rocky Rambo Wei Nam Kam has been sentenced to life behind bars with no chance of parole for 25 years for the 2017 brutal double murder of a Vancouver couple.
The decision was handed down in Vancouver court Tuesday.
Kam was found guilty in June of the first-degree murders of Dianna Mah-Jones, a respected occupational therapist at GF Strong, and her husband Richard Jones, who was retired and relied on a walker, in September 2017.
During the trial, Kam admitted to forcing his way into the couple's home in Marpole, where he used a knife and a hatchet in the killings. The 27-year-old also testified he didn't know the couple, and had no reason to attack them.
Security video from a Canadian Tire that was played in court showed Kam purchasing a hatchet and other items two weeks before the murders.
The Crown had asked for Kam's sentence to be served consecutively, meaning he would have spent 50 years in jail before parole eligibility.
However, defence asked for the mandatory life sentence of 25 years before parole eligibility.
Kam's lawyer, Glen Orris, previously said he didn't doubt that the double murder was a horrendous crime.
But he said that 50 years without parole would mean Kam could not even apply until he was 75 years old, which means there is no chance for Kam to be rehabilitated in prison.
In sentencing, Justice Laura Gerow said the victims were innocent and defenceless strangers who were murdered in their own home in prolonged and vicious attacks.
She told the court the chance of parole for someone who commits multiple murders is slim, and concluded this was not an appropriate case for consecutive parole ineligibility as it would be "unduly long and harsh."
Justice Gerow added she had insufficient evidence to come to the conclusion that a longer period of time was needed to protect the public.
She also referenced victim impact statements from family and friends, which described Mah-Jones as vibrant and fun loving, and her husband as warm, kind and generous.
"No sentence will ever restore them to you," she said.
Prosecutor Daniel Mulligan said while it wasn't the result they were hoping for, it's clear the judge carefully considered the law and the circumstances.
"It will be 2042 before he can apply for parole. And as Madam Justice Gerow pointed out, there's no guarantee that he will get parole," Mulligan said. "I'm hoping that during the course of his time in custody through psychiatric counselling and assessments, that the experts will be able to develop an idea of his motive. But at this point, he chose not to share that with us."
Mulligan said the conviction and sentencing is a tribute to "exceptional" work done by the Vancouver police and members of the public who helped them.
"For example, over 100 private citizens and businesses, including Canadian Tire, provided surveillance video to the police and that enabled the police to develop a timeline of Mr. Kam's movements before and after the murders," Mulligan said. "I hope that this verdict and sentencing brings some comfort to the family members and friends of Dianna Mah-Jones and Richard Jones, and I'm hoping that from this point forward they will be focus less on how they died and more on celebrating how they lived."
Mulligan added it was too early to say if an appeal of the sentencing decision may be considered.