2014: Elliott sentenced for ‘brutal’ murders in Cowichan

Nearly four years after the murder of Karrie-Ann Stone, and nearly three and a half after the murder of Tyeshia Jones, their killer finally received his sentence in 2014. William Gordon Robert Elliott, 26, was sentenced to 20 years in prison without parole in June, bringing an end to the harrowing saga and providing a measure of closure to the victims’ families. Stone was 42 at the time of her death in July 2010, and Jones just 18 when she was killed in January 2011. Judge Keith Bracken, in handing down his sentence in the Duncan courthouse, called the murders "brutal, senseless and callous." After a lengthy investigation, Elliott was arrested and charged in April 2012, and he pleaded guilty to the murders in the summer of 2013.

Around 3:30 a.m. on July 7, 2010, Elliott picked Stone up at the motel where she was living. He drove her to his home where they had consensual sex that he paid her for. According to Elliott, she then threatened to tell his wife about it if he didn’t give her more money. He beat her with a baseball bat, put her in the trunk of his car and drove her to a location off Elliott Road in Glenora where he poured gasoline on her and set fire to her, while she was still alive. He later claimed that he didn’t realize she was still alive until after he started the fire. Stone’s body was found five days later by a berry picker. Jones was reported missing on Jan. 22, 2011.

She had been on her way to meet a friend outside the Duncan Superstore when she stopped responding to texts and phone calls around 3 a.m. Elliott later revealed that he had accidentally struck her with his truck outside the Cowichan Tribes Gym. He picked her up and put her in the bed of his truck and took her to the Shaker Church cemetery off Indian Road. There, he tried unsuccessfully to rape her. When he was unable to do that, he removed her clothes and choked her to death with her bra. He also tried to knock her teeth out and poke her eyes out to make it difficult to identify her before dragging her body into the woods. He later burned her clothes and threw some of her teeth into the ocean. Following an exhaustive search by the RCMP, Cowichan Search and Rescue and other volunteers from the community, Jones’s body was located six days after her disappearance. The two murders were investigated separately until police began seeing similarities between the two cases in February 2011. After identifying Elliott as a suspect, police began a "Mr. Big sting."

Elliott was befriended by undercover officers posing as gang members. He gradually worked his way up the ranks of the "gang" until he was given an opportunity to meet with the "Big Boss" on April 14, 2012. During that meeting in a Victoria hotel room, Elliott provided extensive details about both murders in conversations recorded on a hidden camera. He also visited several areas in the Cowichan Valley along with "gang" members, including the sites where the murders took place, and took them to his house, where he handed over the baseball bat he used to kill Stone and a bag of other items related to crimes. He was arrested and charged soon after. In Elliott’s sentencing hearing, his defence lawyer, Scott Sheets, recommended a prison sentence of 10 to 15 years.

"He has provided a confession, expressed remorse, has participated with people in preparing reports," Sheets said. "The articulation he uses in them will never be enough. There is no excuse for that, but there is a partial explanation." It was also pointed out during the hearing that Elliott grew up in a household where alcohol and physical abuse were prevalent. He spent time living on the streets of Vancouver, where his mother worked as a prostitute. After returning to Duncan, he was once found sleeping under a bush outside a bank at the age of nine. Shortly after that, he went into foster care. Prosecutors Scott Van Alstine and Laura Ford, meanwhile, asked for the maximum sentence of 25 years.

Ford acknowledged Elliott’s aboriginal heritage and problems at home, and agreed they were important, but that there were many other factors to consider. Among various other criminal convictions, Bracken noted two other sexual assaults Elliott had committed as a teenager: one in Courtenay and one in Duncan. In both cases he approached young women, punched them in the face, then raped them. After the sentencing, the victims’ mothers broke down in tears outside the courtroom.

"As far as I’m concerned, this man is a monster," said Bev Stone, Karrie-Ann’s mother. "My reaction is this man got what he deserved, plain and simple. He took two children from us, Mary’s daughter and my daughter, and nothing else could have been better." In the eyes of Mary Jim, Jones’s mother, the sentence wasn’t enough.

"It doesn’t bring my daughter and Karrie back," she said. "I’m not happy about it." Jim added that she will never stop thinking about her daughter.

"She will always be my everything," she said. "She’s my angel."

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