A 33-year-old man was sentenced Monday to life in prison for the murder of a young mother from Saddle Lake Cree Nation.
Lindsay Jackson was thrown off a bridge east of Edmonton nearly three years ago.
A jury found Julian Whiskeyjack guilty of first-degree murder in March. He won't be eligible for parole for 25 years.
"The murder of Lindsay Jackson involved an appalling level of violence against her," said Court of Queen's Bench Justice Paul Belzil, who handed down Monday's sentence in St. Paul, Alta.
"I know from the Jackson family perspective, there's nothing I can say or do this afternoon to reduce the pain of what's been caused here. I do hope that with the sentencing of Mr. Whiskeyjack this afternoon that some level of closure will be achieved in the greater Jackson family."
Belzil said the murder had orphaned three of Jackson's four children, further increasing the tragedy of the situation.
"Although I am required to impose a life sentence this afternoon without eligibility of parole for 25 years, which is required by the Criminal Code, I dare say that — in my view — this is a fit and proper sentence for this terrible act of violence which was perpetrated," the judge said.
In May, court heard that Jackson was pushed off a bridge into the North Saskatchewan River in September 2018. Her body was found in the river weeks later.
Whiskeyjack and Jena Hunter, who were a couple at the time, were both convicted of first-degree murder.
Hunter's sentencing had also been scheduled for Monday but is now delayed until October following a late request for a Gladue report, which provides the court with background on Indigenous offenders' personal histories to consider in sentencing.
A Gladue report was not requested for Whiskeyjack.
The pair had also been key witnesses for the Crown at the first-degree murder trial of their co-accused Jermaine Steinhauer.
Steinhauer, who was Jackson's boyfriend, was acquitted earlier this month by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Larry Ackerl.
Both Whiskeyjack and Hunter blamed Steinhauer for pushing Jackson off the Duvernay Bridge but they blamed each other for helping him. Ackerl described their testimony as "profoundly dishonest."
Prior to the sentencing, Jackson's aunt read her victim impact statement.
Andrea Jackson, who now cares for her niece's four children, described the extent of their heartbreak — depression, sadness, rage, and even being bullied for being orphaned.
"I watch them while out in [the] community, whether while at the park or at a parent-teacher interview, just how sad (as) they watch other families or kids their age are hugged by their mothers.
"There are the days where they get so caught up in their anger that they say, 'I wish I was dead,'" she said.
"All I can do is pray for all of us."