Schuyler Van Wissen has been sentenced to life in prison for killing 33-year-old single mother Gina Swanson.
But the sentence won’t bring back Kirsten Swanson’s sister.
“Violated, raped and cheated. Those three words don’t do justice to how empty I feel,” Kirsten told the court in a victim impact statement.
Swanson’s father found her dead in her living room in Fort Garry in May 2011.
Van Wissen’s DNA was found inside of Swanson as well as on a piece of clothing that was used to bind Swanson’s wrists before she was fatally stabbed.
His lawyer argued that the evidence was circumstantial and there was no direct evidence connecting his client to the murder.
Jurors found Van Wissen guilty of first-degree murder after an afternoon of deliberations.
Swanson’s mother Marie told the court how hard it is to look at the chair Gina occupied at the table for all the standard holidays, knowing she will never be there again.
She says she goes to bed every night, hoping to feel better in the morning.
“But the sun rises and the tears fall all over again,” she said, as friends and family cried in the gallery.
Kirsten says her sister was an amazing single mother to her young daughter.
“They were like a mama duck and a baby duck. Inseparable.”
She promised her niece would remember her mother.
“Time will heal? Perhaps. But time will never bring back my sister… Worst of all, time will never bring back a devoted mother,” Kirsten said.
Family and friends in the gallery wore pins with red, orange and yellow stripes, representing Gina’s favourite colours and her zest for life. They clapped after Van Wissen was led out of the court room.
“My only thought and comment is, short of the death penalty, justice was served,” Kirsten told reporters outside of court.