The Provincial Court of Alberta will be renamed the Alberta Court of Justice beginning April 1. (Advocate file photo)

Alberta man who admitted to murdering woman, toddler sentenced to life in prison

A man who admitted to killing a woman and her 16-month-old son in western Alberta has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Robert Major pleaded guilty in May to two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Mchale Busch, who was 24, and her son, Noah McConnell.

The sentence was handed down Tuesday by King’s Bench Justice Marta Burns in Hinton, Alta., after 20 victim impact statements were submitted.

Busch and her son were found dead in an apartment complex in Hinton, about 250 kilometres west of Edmonton, on Sept. 17, 2021.

The woman and her partner had moved into an apartment next to Major’s three weeks earlier.

Busch’s father, Stuart Busch, told the court in his victim impact statement that he battles with nightmares and is haunted by the image of his daughter and grandson being killed “at the hands of a monster.”

“It frightens me to the bone that these people live among us,” he said of Major.

Parole Board of Canada documents show Major, a registered sex offender, was sentenced to almost four years for an offence in 2012, in which he took a toddler from a babysitter’s care for an unsupervised walk and sexually assaulted the child.

Edmonton police later issued a warning about Major being released into the community, warning there was a chance he could harm women and children.

The Crown has said it isn’t known how Mchale Busch ended up in Major’s apartment, but that is where he sexually assaulted her, strangled her and mutilated her body.

Court heard Major then suffocated the child by stuffing a sock in his mouth and putting a plastic bag over his head.

Busch’s mother, Karen Busch, said she wrote her victim impact statement in April, when her grandson would have had his second birthday.

“We should be celebrating our only grandson’s second birthday, instead it’s a day filled with tears and sadness,” she said in a video played in the courtroom.

She said her daughter and grandson were “two of the most precious people in my world.”

“They were victims of the worst imaginable crime,” she said, adding the randomness of their deaths “is just surreal.”

“Our grief and emptiness are an overwhelming part of each day,” she said. “Our hearts will forever be broken.”

Cody McConnell, Mchale Busch’s fiancé and Noah’s father, submitted his victim impact statement to the judge, but it was not read out in court.

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