Travis Baumgartner, age 22, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance at parole for 40 years after murdering 3 coworkers and critically wounding another in a June 2012 robbery attempt. Baumgartner had been working for G4S Cash Solutions for only 3 months when he decided to steal money from an ATM he and his crew were reloading at the University of Alberta. That is when events took a turn for the worst. Instead of simply grabbing the money and running, Baumgartner shot the three coworkers attending the machine with him at point-blank range in the back of the head, and then proceeded to rush to the company truck to shoot the remaining member of his crew. The initial three coworkers died instantly, while the fourth is still attempting to recover from horrific brain injuries.
Unlike the United States, the death-penalty is not legal in Canada, where the crimes were committed. Until 2011, sentences involving multiple crimes were given with concurrent parole terms, meaning anyone could apply for parole after 25 years. However, in 2011 the law changed to allow for consecutive parole terms in instances of multiple murders. This makes Baumgartner's sentence the most severe punishment handed down by the Canadian judicial system since the death penalty was outlawed in 1976.
Associate Chief Justice John Rooke had some harsh words for Baumgartner during his hearing: "These are absolutely some of the most horrendous crimes that anyone can imagine. It's hard to put into words the revulsion of society, of this court, of the public.” Rooke also stated that Baumgartner showed "absolutely no compassion for life” and that Baumgartner seemed not to understand the grave and serious nature of the atrocities he committed.
Justice Rooke was not the only one to have harsh words for the actions of Baumgartner. Joseph Rejano, brother of murdered coworker Eddie Rejano, gave reporters the following statement: "Call it justice — sure. My way of justice is back in the old days — hang him. That's justice for what he did." Victor Shegelski, husband of murdered coworker Michelle Shegelski, also voiced his opinion of what should have happened to Baumgartner: "I think he should just be taken out behind the shed and put down, personally,"
While there were obviously strong feelings toward what Rooke and surviving members of the family thought should be done to Baumgartner, Justice Rooke still allowed Baumgartner's sentence to be more than fair. Rooke stated that while he believes the murders were premeditated and that Baumgartner committed the revolting act of murdering those he was supposed to protect, Baumgartner received the sentence he did because of two key factors: 1) He plead guilty and saved the families a drawn-out trial; and 2) The parole of 40 years will allow Baumgartner a chance of exiting prison while still alive, hopefully ensuring good behavior and repentance while serving his sentence.
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