John Robertson is lead into the Superior Court of Justice Friday morning.
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THUNDER BAY -- John Robertson was sentenced to life in prison Friday morning after pleading guilty to the second-degree murder of his wife, Elaine Robertson.
Justice Helen Pierce sentenced the 64-year-old Thunder Bay man to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 10 years.
Robertson was arrested and charged with second-degree murder after turning himself in at the Balmoral Street police station and confessing to killing his wife of 40 years.
According to the agreed statement of facts, in the evening of April 11, 2011 Robertson entered the police station and asked to speak to a detective. He said he had a killing to report and he thought he had killed his wife.
The couple had been married for 40 years and had three children together. Elaine suffered a stroke in 2007 and was mostly paralyzed on her left side. Robertson had been his wife’s sole caregiver.
John, also known as Jack, and Elaine Robertson were in bed watching TV on April 11, 2011 when they began arguing. Elaine had said she didn’t want to be here anymore and that John should be in jail.
This stemmed from when she had her stroke and he had called 911. Elaine said she never should have survived.
Elaine had made remarks like this in the past and at that point Robertson told police he had “lost it.”
He grabbed a cooking pot from the stove and hit Elaine on the head with it more than once. He then strangled her with an electrical cord until she was no longer breathing.
He rinsed the blood off of his hands, changed his clothes and went to the police station where he made his confession.
Police later found Elaine’s body in the apartment on the bed with the cooking pot beside the body on the bed.
The cause of death was ligature strangulation and the victim also suffered from blunt force trauma to the face and head.
While telling the police what happened, Robertson was clear and coherent and remorseful saying things like “what have I done?” He also stated that he would have to pay the consequences.
Robertson also told the police he and his wife were in deep financial trouble and that she was often critical of him.
Robertson said he had never considered his wife a burden and that in their marriage vows he had signed on for in sickness and health.
Robertson addressed the court and through tears expressed his sorrow and regrets.
“I have committed a terrible wrong,” he said, adding he has caused grief and destruction in his family’s lives.
He apologized to his children, grandchildren and family and thanked his friends for the “unbelievable amount of support” he’s received.
“More than I deserve,” he said.
Robertson also thanked the crown attorney’s office, the court, Thunder Bay Police Service and the Thunder Bay District Jail for showing him and his family decency and courtesy.
“I am accountable for my actions,” Robertson said.
Before delivering her sentence, Justice Pierce said there were many mitigating factors in this case including the accused’s immediate and continuing remorse, his refusal to seek bail and his refusal to call an attorney when confessing to the police.
Robertson also has no previous criminal record, no history of violence in his marriage and was a productive member of society. He also has fully cooperated.
Pierce said the incident was impulsive and out of character and there was no need to impose a longer sentence than the minimum.
Pierce also extended condolences to the family, friends and Robertson himself.
Robertson’s lawyer George Joseph said this was the toughest case he’s ever tried and he hopes he never has another like it.
“He never shied away from his responsibility in this. He wanted to plead guilty the first instance he could almost 18 months ago. However, there is a process that has to be conducted and it’s important that people are properly convicted and in this case it was,” Joseph said.
“Everybody who knows Jack Robertson, including the prosecutor, including the police who dealt with him, have a great amount of sympathy for him, but the law is what it is and that’s why he was sentenced to life imprisonment,” said Joseph.
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