BY MICHAEL LAYCOCK
Sterling News Service
October 28, 1995

CRANBROOK — Kristian Warsing sat expressionless as he was sentenced Friday morning to spend the rest of his life in prison.

A jury found the 20-year-old Sparwood man guilty Thursday of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of two of his younger siblings.

The ten-woman, two-man jury also found him guilty of attempting to murder his step-mother, Debora Warsing.

In a soft-spoken voice, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Thomas Melnick imposed on Warsing the mandatory, 25-year-minimum life sentence. He also gave Warsing a six-year concurrent prison sentence for the attempted-murder charge.

Melnick noted that Warsing had shown no remorse for his crimes or their effect on Debora Warsing.

“The scars she is left with are a constant reminder of this offence and the others as well,” Melnick said.

The jury had delivered its verdicts shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday after four days of deliberations.

Debora Warsing, seated between her parents in the courtroom, broke into tears as the jury handed down the verdicts. Several of the jurors wept quietly.

Justice Thomas Melnick told the jury they had completed a tough job.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been a long and difficult few weeks for you,” he said. “We thank you for what you have done.”

In an interview Thursday night, Debora Warsing said she was elated by the verdicts.

“Needless to say, I’m quite happy with them,” she said, as the family celebrated with champagne in their motel room.

“It was just a big relief.”

Her father, Warren Sadler, echoed her sentiments.

“I’m very pleased that the jury reached the same verdict that I reached,” he said. “The only surprise was that it took so long.”

Police found the bodies of Stuart Warsing, 7, and Shannon Warsing, eight months, wrapped in bedsheets near the rear patio doors of the family’s Sparwood townhome on the morning of May 27, 1994.

The two had been strangled with plastic lock-ties similar to those police sometimes use as handcuffs.

Debora Warsing was found, battered and bleeding from numerous wounds, at a neighbor’s home.

Police had found the Warsing home in a state of disarray, with clothing and drawers emptied, household items smashed, and spray-painted symbols on the walls.

Kristian Warsing was arrested in Fernie the following day after a massive police manhunt.

During the four weeks of testimony, Crown counsel Scott Bell painted a picture of a reclusive Kristian Warsing who resented babysitting the children and killed them out of hatred for his stepmother. Bell also suggested Warsing killed the children to save them from growing up in a broken home.

Bell based his case on physical evidence and the testimony of Debora Warsing, who told court that Kristian had bound her and assaulted her for more than five hours, with weapons ranging from a barbecue skewer to a wooden piggy bank.

Defence lawyer Patrick Dearden raised the theories that Debora Warsing had killed the children for insurance money or due to a suicidal depression, and that she had framed Kristian. Dearden suggested to the jury that Debora Warsing’s testimony contained numerous contradictions, and he noted that four witnesses testified they would not believe her testimony on the stand.

And while admitting his client had assaulted Debora Warsing, Dearden argued Kristian had no intent to kill.

The defence did not call Kristian Warsing to testify during the trial.

Crown counsel Bell was reserved in his comments following the verdicts.

“Given the nature of the charges, it’s never a pleasurable experience,” he said in an interview. “My job is not to be happy or unhappy with the verdict.”

He added that, from his perspective, the key factor in the case was the physical evidence that corroborated Debora Warsing’s accounts and pointed directly at her stepson.

In an interview Thursday night, Dearden said he was disappointed by the verdict and plans to launch an appeal.

“From Kris’s perspective, the nightmare is continuing,” he said.

He added that the length of time the jury spent deliberating indicated the level of doubt the defence had raised.

And Dearden said it is too early to say whether he should have put his client on the witness stand.

“That’s the one I’m going to be second-guessed on for a long time.”

Warsing will not be eligible for parole for 25 years.