Thu, Dec 13, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Canadian pig farmer gets life for killing six women

AP , NEW WESTMINSTER, CANADA

A Canadian pig farmer convicted of killing six women and butchering their bodies like pigs officially received his automatic life sentence and learned he will not be eligible for parole for a minimum of 25 years.

Robert "Willie" Pickton was convicted on Sunday of second-degree murder in the killings of six women and received an automatic life sentence, though he could have been eligible for parole in as little as 10 years.

After hearing gripping statements from the families of the victims on Tuesday, Judge James Williams sentenced Pickton, 58, and said he will not be eligible for parole for a minimum of 25 years, the maximum penalty allowed by law.

It is unlikely Pickton will ever be released from jail. Pickton still faces 20 more murder charges for the deaths of women, most of them prostitutes and drug addicts from a seedy Vancouver neighborhood. If convicted on all those charges, he would become Canada's worst serial killer. Police are also investigating the cases of almost 40 other missing women.

The families of the victims cheered when Williams ordered him to serve the harshest sentence available in law.

"Mr. Pickton's conduct was murderous and repeatedly so. I cannot know the details of what happened," Williams said. "I do know this: Each of these women were murdered and their remains were dismembered; What happened to them was senseless and despicable."

"Today this court heard from a number of people whose lives have been altered and forever changed by these murders," he said. "Mr. Pickton there is really nothing that I can say to adequately express the revulsion that the community feels about these killings."

Pickton, who stood with his hands clasped in front of him as the judge spoke to him, shook his head a couple of times as he was castigated for his murderous spree.

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