SAINT-JÉRÔME, Que. — A Quebec man who slipped through the cracks of the justice and health systems was sentenced today to eight years in prison for the March 2022 killing of his spouse.
Quebec court Judge Sylvain Lépine accepted the joint sentencing recommendation from the Crown and defence for Pascal Arseneault, who killed 64-year-old Louise Avon.
Arseneault, 50, pleaded guilty to manslaughter after Avon's body was found in the couple's burnt-out home in Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., about 105 kilometres north of Montreal.
According to a statement of facts, Arsenault had resumed using crack cocaine in 2021 after 12 years of abstinence and had consumed large quantities of the drug before the killing.
Court documents say Arseneault told police he was a ninja and was the victim of a conspiracy and that Avon was a robot.
Lépine called it incomprehensible that Arseneault was stopped 13 times by police in the months leading up to the killing without any concrete actions resulting.
Two days before the killing, the judge noted in his written decision, Arseneault was arrested in a state of crisis and was taken to a hospital, only to be released six hours later.
Lépine said a lack of coordination between police and the health system meant the state failed in its role of protecting the public, adding that if someone had taken charge of Arseneault the tragic outcome could have been prevented.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2023.
The Canadian Press