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Second accused in death of Jordan Lapointe pleads guilty to murder

Derek Turner pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection to the 2021 death of 33-year-old Jordan Lapointe
Frederica Explosion 3
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue and Thunder Bay Police are investigating an incident at a Frederica Street home on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY — A second person accused in the 2021 death of 33-year-old Jordan Lapointe has pleaded guilty to murder and could be ineligible for parole for as long as 18 years.

Derek Turner, 41, of Thunder Bay, appeared before Justice Danial Newton in a Thunder Bay courtroom on Friday, where he pleaded not guilty to the original charge of first-degree murder but guilty to the lesser included charge of second-degree murder.

Turner was first arrested and charged in May 2022 in connection to an incident on the night of Oct. 3, 2021, at a residence in the 100 block of Frederica Street East.

First responders were called to the residence after receiving reports of a structural fire. After the fire was extinguished, a deceased male was located inside. The man was later identified as Jordan Lapointe, and police determined he died as a result of a homicide.

Michael Gomez of Nepean, Ont. and Shane Cabral of Ottawa were arrested in the Amelia Street area on Oct. 22, 2021, and charged with first-degree murder. Gomez has since pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison and is ineligible to seek parole for 18 years.

A third suspect, Ronald Hill of Thunder Bay, was arrested later in October and charged with first-degree murder and arson.

While an agreed statement of facts about what took place the night of Oct. 3, 2021 was shared with the court, the disclosure of specific details is being limited because two co-accused are still to stand trial.

The court also heard several victim impact statements from Jordan Lapointe’s family and friends, who said the death of such a loving person has left the family with an immeasurable sense of loss.

“Jordan was known as a kind, caring, and compassionate person. He was also very considerate of his family and neighbours,” said Jordan’s grandmother, Sharon Labell.

Sharon added that the family no longer has any peace, and they think about Jordan every single day, and she hopes Tuner will, too.

“For you, I can only wish one thing, that you spend your time incarcerated in the worst prisons we have in Canada, and I pray you close your eyes every night and see Jordan staring back at you, begging for his life,” she said.

Larissa Lapointe, Jordan’s sister, said her life was forever changed when he was tragically and senselessly taken away from the family.

“Our lives will never be the same,” she said.

“He will forever be 33. This makes me so sad not only for myself and family, but also for Jordan. Jordan had so much life to live, and you have taken that away from him.”

Larissa also said Jordan’s loss has been especially difficult for her children, who loved their uncle very much.

“It was unfathomable for children to learn about the hate and monsters that exist in this cruel world,” she said.

“They could not understand why someone would want to hurt Jordan like you did.”

“Derek Turner does not deserve to be free,” Larissa continued.

“He is a danger to society, especially to the vulnerable. You are the definition of evil, and I pray every day for eternal suffering for your actions.”

Jordan’s mother, Corinna Lapointe, read a brief statement on behalf of Jordan’s son, who said he is sad that he no longer has a dad, and then shared her own victim impact statement.

“His absence has torn a hole in the very fabric of our family,” she said. “He was a radiant light in our lives. He was my first-born child. He was a beacon of joy and potential.”

Corinna said to Turner that he made the choice of evil the night of October 3 and that he took advantage of a vulnerable person who was struggling at the time.

“You need to look around this courtroom today and look into the eyes of the people present,” Corinna said. “Your choices have destroyed and devastated all of our lives. You are pure evil Derek and I will never forgive you for your actions.”

Jordan’s father, Randy Lapointe, said his life has never been the same since first arriving on the scene of the fire at his son’s house.

Randy described Jordan as beautiful, smart, full of love, and an awesome big brother to his little sister.

“Derek, what you took from us, I can’t even begin to tell you the pain you caused to me, his mom, his sister, his grandparents, his only two nieces, his cousins, and all of his family and friends,” Randy said.

“You piece of garbage. You took away the opportunity to watch his son grow up and took away his son having his father in his life to watch him play hockey, baseball, and soccer and to grow up.”

Randy ended his statement by saying Turner should be locked away so he cannot harm anyone ever again.

“Now you will pay for what you did,” he said. “No matter what sentence you receive, it will never be enough or change anything for us. We will never get Jordan back. Our sentence is the excruciating pain of not having Jordan in our lives forever.”

Crown attorney Gordon Fillmore is seeking a period of parole ineligibility for 18 years, citing parity with the sentence handed down to the co-accused.

“The primary thrust of the Crown’s submission is you can look at the sentencing of Mr. Gomez. The parity of sentence is what should be applied,” Fillmore said.

“I appreciate they are not identical. But Mr. Turner was present throughout the most violent aspects of it. He participated in a hands-on way.”

Fillmore added that Lapointe was a vulnerable person and any hope of escape or resistance was undermined by Turner’s participation.

“My submission is that the 18 years is certainly appropriate. Because the Crown respects the principle of parity, we are not seeking anything more than what Mr. Gomez was sentenced to, but Mr. Turner should not receive anything less from what Mr. Gomez was sentenced to.”

Defence counsel Shaunna Kelly argued for 12 years of parole ineligibility, citing the mitigating factors of Turner’s guilty plea and expressions of remorse, as well as his participation in rehabilitative programs while in custody since the time of his arrest.

And while Kelly acknowledged there are similarities between Gomez and Turner, she said there are important distinctions the court should consider.

“We are also talking about the distinctive difference between the roles. There is parity on some aspects of this case. I am not suggesting they’re completely different, but there are distinguishing aspects,” she said.

“These distinguishing features, although there are also similar features, but these distinguishing features are important when looking at the individual and their responsibility.”

Kelly also shared a letter from Turner’s parents, who expressed condolences to the Lapointe family, with the court.

A brief statement was also shared on behalf of Turner, who said he was truly sorry for the senseless acts committed the night of Oct. 3, 2021, and that he is hopeful the Lapointe family can one day start to heal.

Newton said he would like some time to consider the arguments, and a date for delivering his decision will be set next week.  

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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