Applause erupted in a Winnipeg courtroom Friday morning after a 19-year-old man was given three concurrent life sentences for killing two teens and almost killing another in December 2009.
Blake Whiteway stood in the prisoner's box and showed no emotion about Justice Perry Schulman's ruling or the reaction from the family of the young men he killed.
Whiteway will serve 10 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Tyler Hawula and Matthew Reynolds, both 18, were gunned down at a house party at Hawula's home on Martin Avenue West and died from their injuries. Kyle St. Germain was seriously injured.
Schulman said the life sentences were mandatory for the first-degree murder convictions, adding Whiteway's actions during the shootings demanded he be sentenced for a third life sentence for nearly killing St. Germain.
"It was a cold-blooded shooting," Schulman said. "It was a crime of sheer horror."
Reynolds' parents said after the hearing they were pleased with the three life sentences, adding they don't believe Whiteway should ever be released from prison.
"He's a cold, callous killer," Debbie Reynolds said. "He should never, ever again see the light of day."
"He killed my son," Todd Huzel, Reynolds' stepfather, said. The sentence "is exactly what I want to hear. He's going to where he belongs."
Whiteway, now 19 but 16 at the time, had agreed to be sentenced as an adult and could only be named after the sentence was delivered.
St. Germain also attended the hearing and said he had mixed feelings about the outcome.
"I'm glad he also got a life sentence for what he did to me," St. Germain said. "But that's not going to bring my friends back."
Germain's arm is badly disfigured and scarred from the shotgun blast. Pellets remain trapped inside his arm and he said it causes constant pain.
Whiteway was ordered to serve his sentence at a federal prison, most likely Stony Mountain Institution just north of Winnipeg, where he requested to be sent.
The December 2009 attack was launched by Whiteway and another youth who had been kicked out of the party earlier in the night after Whiteway became argumentative and began brandishing weapons and frightening people.
Whiteway and three others returned to the home determined to exact revenge for what they considered a major insult. Whiteway and another youth, who was 17 at the time, went inside the home where they targeted Hawula and Reynolds in the kitchen, and Whiteway fired one fatal shot at each of them. The two then calmly walked into the living room and fired a single shot at St. Germain, seriously wounding him.
Whiteway and his accomplice who entered the home were charged with two counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder. They were convicted at trial in November.
Whiteway's co-accused has not yet been sentenced. A sentencing hearing is expected later this month.
Another youth co-accused received a manslaughter sentence in youth court. Another gang member who was with them but remained outside the house, Cody Delorme, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received an 11-year sentence.
At the sentencing hearing earlier this week, Hawula and Reynolds were described as smart, hard-working boys who were never in trouble with the law and not linked to any street gang, well-liked and admired by their friends and teachers, and who acted as mentors to younger kids in the neighbourhood.
Court was told Reynolds and Whiteway had similar upbringings. Reynolds was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and was badly abused by his biological father before being placed in care and later adopted.
Whiteway is from Gods Lake Narrows and also suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome. He was set on fire at the age of six and later taunted for years by other youths because of the scars. Whiteway is a member of a local native street gang.