A central Alberta man has been sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 13 years, after killing his father in June 2019.
Patrick Freeman Jr. was originally charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Patrick Freeman Sr. But he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this week.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Brian Burrows had trouble believing the rationale for committing murder, He described the killing as an "unthinkably violent and senseless act" that was "cruel and inhumane."
The father and son had what was described as a difficult relationship. Freeman Jr. described his father as a "psychological terrorist" in an interview with a psychologist hired by the defence.
"He would berate me for my life decisions, for being such a failure," Freeman Jr. said. "He would call me greedy and irresponsible."
The final confrontation took place in the kitchen of Freeman Sr.'s Lacombe county home, moments after he returned from a four-month trip to Australia.
Freeman Jr. wanted his father to sign over ownership of an old car the two men had worked on together. His father refused. Freeman Jr. shot his father in the right eye. The 61-year-old died in hospital the next day.
The son, who was 28 years old at the time, called 9-1-1 right after the shooting and confessed.
"He punched me around my whole life," Freeman Jr. told RCMP. "And there was no sign of the end. I needed to get away from him and that was the only way I felt like I could."
Burrows had trouble believing the rationale for committing murder.
"The obvious course was to have no further contact with his father," Burrows said. "There is very little that reduces the blameworthiness of his actions."
A second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years.
Crown prosecutor Drew Gillespie argued for a period of parole ineligibility of 14 to 17 years. Defence lawyer Alain Hepner asked the judge to impose the lowest period possible of 10 years.
Burrows sentenced Freeman Jr. to life in prison with no chance of parole for 13 years, and acknowledged the man's genuine remorse.
"I have the impression you now recognize the unspeakable seriousness of this crime and the depth of harm you have caused," Burrows said.
"I have the impression that this criminal conduct... was a deviation from an otherwise entirely pro-social life."