B.C. dad sentenced to life for murders of his wife and 2 daughters

Jacob Forman has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 35 years after pleading guilty to the murders of his wife and two daughters.

The Kelowna-area man learned his fate in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, just 11 days after he entered surprise guilty pleas to the second-degree murder of wife Clara and the first-degree murders of his daughters Karina and Yesenia.

Murder comes with a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The judge opted to give Forman 10 years' parole ineligibility for the murder of his wife and 25 years for his daughters, to be served consecutively.

Earlier in the day, details of how Forman bludgeoned his wife and choked his two young daughters to death in their home two years ago were read out to a packed courtroom.

In an agreed statement of fact, Jacob Forman also admitted that he went to work as usual for two days following the murders after stashing the bodies in the garage. 

Forman said he became enraged on Dec. 17, 2017, when confronted by his wife, Clara, about his drinking, striking her three times in the head with a sledgehammer.

Forman then took seven-year-old Karina and nine-year-old Yesenia out to shovel snow and then to church. When they returned home, he choked the girls to death under the pretence of playing a game.

The bodies were found at the family's Rutland neighbourhood home two days later when Clara's co-workers contacted police with concerns for her well-being. 

Crown is asking Forman be sentenced for the three murders — two in the first-degree for killing the children and another of second degree for Clara — to life in prison without chance of parole for 35 years.

Submitted by April Carlson

A number of onlookers at the sentencing hearing wore pins and T-shirts commemorating Clara and her daughters.

The court heard details of the family's life. Jacob, 35, worked as a plumber and Clara, 33, worked as a part-time fitness instructor. The girls were home-schooled.

How the murders were discovered

On Dec. 19, 2017, a colleague's of Clara's phoned her home after she failed to show up for work. Jacob Forman answered and responded that his wife wasn't feeling well.

Another colleague stopped by the Forman house to offer to help with the children, but no one came to the door. When she called Jacob, he told her Clara had left him. The colleague found that strange, because she had seen Clara's car at the home.

She called police.

The first two officers who attended were denied entrance to the home by Forman. Police returned later with more officers and this time he let them in.

Officers searched the home for Clara and the children but didn't find them. They did, however, notice a piece of carpet missing and asked to search the garage.  

There, they found the three bodies.

According to Forman's confession, he killed Clara in their bedroom. When the girls asked about her screaming, he told them their mom wasn't feeling well. 

Clara's body remained in the bedroom while Forman and the girls went to church.

Facebook / Clara Forman

When they returned home, he took Yesenia, 9, into her bedroom and told her they were going to play a game he had played as a kid where she would stand on her head and then quickly turn upright while he choked her from behind. He told her she would pass out and it would be fun. 

He choked Yesenia to death, then did the same to seven-year-old Karina. 

In his confession, Forman said he killed the girls, because it would be better for them to go to heaven than live in a world where their father killed their mother. 

Brady Strachan/CBC

He went to work the next day and bought supplies to clean the blood off the carpet.

He also went to work the following day. Later that evening, police came to the home, found the bodies and arrested Forman.

Interviewed last week after the guilty pleas, Clara's sister said she and her parents still cared very deeply about Jacob Forman.

"We don't look at Jacob as only a perpetrator. We look at Jacob as a person going through this with us, with an enormous amount of pain that we can't even understand," said April Carlson. "We trust that justice will prevail."