Nathaniel Carrier apologized prior to sentencing at Prince Albert’s Court of Queen’s Bench on Wednesday, and expressed remorse for killing his parents and seven-year-old son Bentlee, and attempting to kill his five-year-old daughter Kendrah.
Carrier was sentenced to life imprisonment with a chance of parole for killing Bentlee. He also received life sentences with a chance of parole for killing his parents Denis Carrier and Sandra Henry, and a 15 year sentence with a chance of parole for attempting to murder Kendrah. The sentences will run concurrently. Carrier will not be eligible for parole until 2045.
“I understand that nothing I say can change what happened,” Carrier told the court. “I just want everyone to know I regret my decision and regret my actions.”
Carrier apologized to the first responders who arrived on scene following the discovery of the triple homicide in March 2020. He also apologized to Bentlee and Kendrah’s mother, Heather-Lynn Sumners, and her friends and family for what he put them through.
Kendrah will be 30 years old when Carrier is first eligible for parole. He will not be allowed to contact her upon release unless she provides a written submission allowing him to do so. Carrier will also not be allowed to have contact with his two brothers, or with Sumners and her parents.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Douglas Howell and defence lawyer Angus McLean presented a joint sentencing submission to the court. Howell said they took Carrier’s remorse into account when making the submission. They also considered his decision to plead guilty instead of forcing everyone to endure what likely would have been a “long and emotional” trial that would have created stress and anxiety for family and friends of the victims.
Family members present were glad the sentencing was over, but said the mourning period will continue.
“I’m just glad we’re going to get some closure after this,” said Corey Ferchoff, Bentlee and Kendrah’s grandfather. “It’s been a long two years. Our family has to carry on with life and actually mourn the loss of our grandson and take care of Kendrah.”
Nearly 50 people packed into the court room to hear Carrier’s sentencing along with victims statements from Sumners and others. However, they were forced to wait 40 minutes for McLean to hold an unscheduled meeting with his client, which provided the ire of judge A.R. Rothery. McLean apologized to the court, and said the delay was the result of miscommunication.
Carrier’s sentencing was already delayed once after the defence requested a pre-sentencing report. Family members said it was frustrating to see yet another delay on Wednesday.
“The adjournments from beforehand, it was sad, but we almost got used to it,” Sumners said. “But the adjournment this morning was almost like a punch to the chest. It’s like, we’re adjourning? What? Then (the judge) said only 40 minutes, and (I thought), ‘thank God we’re doing this today.'”
During her victim impact statement, Sumners said her anxiety and depression “have skyrocketed” since Bentlee’s death. She also said Kendrah has struggled with nightmares, and hasn’t gone a month without atleast four medical or mental health appointments.
“I can’t imagine what she goes through every day,” Sumners told the court. “I can’t imagine what her nightmares are actually like.”
Sumners said Kendrah is tough and determined to keep living, but has a difficult road ahead. She spoke fondly of Bentlee as a friendly seven-year-old who read books to his younger siblings, and wanted to be a police officer when he grew up.
Even today, she half expects to hear a knock on the door and hear an officer say they’ve found her lost son Bentlee, who just wants to come home.
“I am still in shock to this day,” she told the court. “It doesn’t seem real.”
Carrier wept quietly during Sumners’ victim impact statement, but otherwise did not respond until his statement just prior to sentencing.
Sumners was one of four people who delivered victim impact statements on Wednesday. Afterwards, she told reporters she hoped Carrier received the maximum allowable sentence for his crimes.
The court also heard details about Carrier’s mental state prior to his crimes. According to the agreed statement of facts, Carrier planned to commit suicide with a 23-year-old women from La Ronge he met on a social media ap. The two planned to spend a weekend at a La Ronge inn before killing themselves by driving head-on into a lumber truck.
Their plans were stopped when one of the women’s friends contacted police saying he was worried she might commit suicide. La Ronge RCMP found her car, which contained suicide notes for her family, and tracked her to the motel room she shared with Carrier.
Prior to leaving for La Ronge, Carrier stopped by his parents’ house and waited for Sumners to drop off Bentlee and Kendrah for the weekend. He later told investigators he intended to kill his children because he did not want them to go through the pain of losing him. He also didn’t want them raised by Sumners and her partner.
Carrier disabled the security cameras at his parents home prior to the murders. He then killed his mother and father while his children were down for their afternoon nap. The last security camera image shows his father, Denis Carrier, sweeping the floor in the garage.
Details about how Carrier committed the murders were read out in court. The Daily Herald has declined to publish those details due to their disturbing nature.