‘Wicked nightmare:’ Alberta man avoids trial, pleads guilty to triple murder


LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Family members of three murder victims stabbed a total of 244 times in a bloody attack at a townhouse say they will never fully recover from their “wicked nightmare.”

Five knives and a meat cleaver were found at the crime scene.

“I cannot erase it from my mind. They were brutally stabbed to death,” Wendy English told court after Austin Vielle pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Monday on what was supposed to be the first day of his first-degree murder trial in Lethbridge, Alta.

Vielle, 24, answered Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Rodney Jerke with a “yes” when asked if he understood that he was admitting to the crimes.

Vielle was charged after Kyle Devine, 27; Clarissa English, 24; and her 18-year-old brother Dakota were found stabbed to death in a Lethbridge townhome in April 2015.

English and her brother were Wendy English’s grandchildren.

“We all want justice,” she said, calling the murders “a wicked nightmare.”

Chantelle English, sobbing throughout her victim impact statement, said she found it hard to believe when she heard her siblings were dead. She said she saw photos in which her brother’s face was “squished in.”

“Did they feel pain? What really happened? We’ll never know. Only the Creator will know,” she cried.

Allan Devine said the day he found out he had lost his son was the worst day of his life.

“His life was cut short,” Devine said. “My pain remains insufferable.”

He addressed Vielle directly.

“I suggest you pray and ask the Creator for forgiveness,” he said.

Jerke was waiting for all the statements to be read into court Monday before passing sentence. But Vielle’s lawyer already indicated outside court that a sentence of life with no chance of parole for 20 years would be recommended as part of the plea deal.

An agreed statement of facts said all three victims were heavily intoxicated at the time.

The statement said Dakota English was stabbed 57 times, Devine had 84 cuts and stab wounds and Clarissa English was stabbed 103 times. Many of the wounds were to the faces, necks and upper bodies of all three.

Court heard Vielle was intoxicated when he committed the murders and has no recollection of what happened.

He was arrested nearly two weeks after the bodies were found. He was described as a friend to all three.

Police said at the time that they believed Vielle had spent time with them in the hours prior to their deaths and that the attacks were targeted.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press