Admission made days before murder trial was to begin
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Ardeth Wood’s killer has been sentenced to life in jail.
With Wood’s family in attendance at the Ottawa courthouse yesterday, Christopher Myers, 27, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of the 27-year-old graduate student in a wooded area near a city bicycle path in 2003.
The plea came days before Myers’ trial was to begin and he received a life sentence of 25 years, with eligibility for parole after 10 years. Since Myers has been in custody for two years, he could seek parole within eight years.
Wood’s mother, Catherine Wood, was satisfied with the sentence and even expressed sympathy for Myers.
“He’s had a very difficult life from the very beginning, as we saw today,” she said. “I just hope that his prison years will help him to reform.”
She was angry, however, that Myers waited until a week before his first-degree murder trial would begin.
“He was offered this at the beginning and he refused and he put us and his parents through a whole lot more,” she said.
A guilty verdict for first-degree murder would have resulted in a life sentence, with parole only after 25 years. But although the sentence includes earlier parole, Crown Attorney Hillary McCormack, one of the co-prosecutors, said it comes with the confirmation of the killer’s identity.
“This is an admission by him that he is the person who killed Ardeth Wood,” she said. “Even with a trial and a jury finding him guilty, you don’t get that. That’s important.”
Wood’s younger brother Colum, now living in Whitby, was relieved to have closure in his sister’s death, but predicted it would haunt the family when Myers seeks parole.
“Eight years down the road it’s going to come up again to haunt me and haunt my family,” he said. “In my mind, life should be life. He should be there for the rest of it.”
Myers’ attorney Bruce Engel called the sentence the right result, describing Myers as “a simple, troubled guy” who was sincere in his admission of guilt.