Leanne Friesen was a “proud hockey mom” who often rang a cowbell at her son’s hockey game and who had a beautiful smile and a “sassy quick wit,” family members said Thursday during the sentencing hearing for the man convicted of her murder.
Victim impact statements were read in court from Leanne’s parents, two sisters and her son and daughter at the hearing for Jeffrey Friesen, Leanne’s estranged husband.
A jury in late January found Friesen, 44, guilty of second-degree murder in relation to the fatal shooting of Leanne on Feb. 5, 2013 at the couple’s home on Cassiar Court in Abbotsford.
The conviction comes with an automatic life sentence, but parole eligibility is determined by the courts and can range from 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder.
During the hearing, the Crown recommended that Friesen not be eligible for parole for 15 years, while the defence suggested 10 years.
The judge had not issued her ruling by press deadline Thursday.
More than 20 family members and friends were in court at the hearing, and many sobbed as the victim impact statements were read.
Friesen also cried during the proceedings.
Leanne’s twin, Tammie, described the pain of losing her sister, 40.
“Leanne was my twin, my other half, my best friend, my wingman,” she said.
Leanne’s other sister, Carrie, said her life has been “forever changed” by the murder.
“I miss my sister’s laugh, her beautiful smile and her quirky personality … What you have done will never be forgiven or forgotten,” she told Friesen.
Leanne’s son and daughter – now both teens – said they have changed their surname from Friesen to their mom’s maiden name.
“What you did was selfish. When you took my mom, you were only thinking about yourself … Not only did I not have a mom anymore, but I also don’t have a dad,” her son said.
Evidence presented at trial indicated that Leanne had been shot twice in her torso by a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun from a distance of about five feet.
The shooting took place in the garage, and Friesen left her body there for about 36 hours until police made the discovery and arrested him.
Although both kids were home at the time of the killing, Friesen kept them away from the garage and told them that the bangs they heard were a shelf falling down in the garage.
At trial, he admitted to the shooting, but defence lawyer Lisa Jean Helps argued that Friesen was in a “dissociative state” at the time.