Spruce Grove plumber gets life with no parole for 12 years for murder

Spruce Grove plumber gets life with no parole for 12 years for murder

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Judge Douglas Mah heard all the evidence of what Blake Jolicoeur did to Saladina Vivancos that night but he still can’t explain.

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“In those final moments, she must have realized that she was going to die and she must have been horrified,” Mah said outside an Edmonton courtroom as Jolicoeur listened in the prison box on Thursday.

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“You did the worst thing you can do to another human being. Try as I may, I cannot understand why this happened… what you did and how you did it is beyond human understanding.”

Mah on Thursday sentenced Jolicoeur to life imprisonment for the murder of Vivancos. He must wait at least 12 years before he can apply for parole.

Jolicoeur, a plumber, admitted to beating Vivancos to death at a roadside turnoff near Spruce Grove during a drug deal in 2019. Early in his trial he tried to plead guilty to manslaughter, claiming that he had been provoked and acted in self-defense, but this was denied by the Crown.

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Mah found Jolicoeur guilty of second-degree murder last May.

Vivancos, 36, worked in the drug trade after moving to Edmonton from Kelowna. She was previously involved with Jolicoeur, who told police he was an occasional cocaine user who, after being released, sold small batches of drugs “to make ends meet”.

On November 16, 2019, Jolicoeur and Vivancos agreed to meet at a crossover near Township Road 532A and Range Road 274. An argument broke out after Jolicoeur climbed into Vivancos’ car, during which he repeatedly hit her with a metal object. In all, Jolicoeur hit Vivancos on the head 35 times, including after fleeing the vehicle on foot.

He then loaded the body into the back seat and pushed the Vivancos’ car onto a frozen pond after unsuccessfully attempting to set it on fire.

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Jolicoeur initially provided police with a false alibi before admitting to killing Vivancos. He gave three explanations for the murder, including acting in self-defense, being provoked, or trying to stop Vivancos from calling someone on their cellphone.

Mah said he ultimately found the third explanation the most credible, but added he couldn’t understand why Jolicoeur reacted with such “maliciousness.”

Saladina Vivancos was found dead by police north of Spruce Grove on November 17, 2019. Blake Jolicoeur was convicted of second-degree murder in her death. Photo by Supplied/GoFundMe

Second-degree murder carries a life sentence of 10 to 25 years with no chance of parole.

The Crown pleaded for a 14-year suspended sentence, while the defense asked for 12 years.

Both sides agreed that Jolicoeur had led an otherwise “prosocial” life and that the violence could not be explained by addiction or mental health issues.

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Mah chose to file the defense, noting that Jolicoeur had shown remorse, cleaned up his life in prison and continues to enjoy the support of his partner and family. He said Jolicoeur has “substantial prospects” of rehabilitation but noted that even if he is released, he will spend the rest of his life being sent back to prison.

Twenty-three of Vivancos’ friends and family submitted victim statements during a December 16 hearing, describing her as a beautiful soul who wanted to be a mother.

Mah echoed those comments, calling Vivancos’ death a “needless and senseless tragedy” that “abandoned a network of family and friends across two continents.” He noted that Vivancos’ mother became ill and died during the trial – a death that family members attributed in part to heartbreak.

Mah added that while Vivancos may have sold drugs, she “was so much more than what she was doing at the time of her death.

“Saladina Vivancos wasn’t just another crime statistic,” he said. “She loved and was loved.”

Mah reprimanded Jolicoeur before being led away to begin his sentence.

“Atonement is all you have left, Mr. Jolicoeur,” the judge told him. “You have to spend the rest of your life being a good person and making things better.”

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