UPDATE: Murder victim’s family focuses on the future

Roxanne Louie’s family is focused on the future after a court process they believe failed them

UPDATE: 3 p.m.

Roxanne Louie’s killer is now behind bars, which means her family can turn their full attention to the child she left behind.

“Our focus is to make sure (her son) is raised properly, to know the difference between right and wrong,” said Dan Wilson, Louie’s uncle.

“(He will be) shown a lot of love and given a chance to experience a happy childhood, just like everyone should be given that right.”

Creating that environment will be complicated.

Pier Robotti, 63, was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in prison, less three months, for dumping Louie’s body down an embankment off a rural Naramata area road.

His older sister Grace, 67, was sentenced at the same time to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years for the Jan. 4, 2015 killing.

While they will be out of the picture for awhile, the child’s father and grandmother — Grace’s daughter and grandson — are now, and will continue to be, part of the child’s upbringing alongside Louie’s relatives.

“We’ve done the best we could so far for the sake of the boy,” said Wilson, of how both families have been able to work together since the killing.

“Both sides have abided by the court’s wishes and we haven’t discussed the trial with him. Both sides of the family are doing the best we can to ensure the boy is going to have a healthy and happy childhood.”

Their co-operation in the aftermath of devastating violence, he said, is the only thing that has gone well. Working together in a way that best meets the need of the child, however, will get harder as time goes on.

“My only thought is with (Louie’s son) … in this day and age with computers and stuff, he’s five-years-old now and he’s going to Google his mom’s death at one point and how are we going to deal with that?” said Wilson.

“We are going to need a lot of counselling, a lot of help and a lot of community support to get through this.”

That’s been something they’ve found easily, thus far.

“All through the whole trial, especially when the proceedings were in Penticton, people would come up, that we didn’t even know, and just offer their condolences and support,” Wilson said.

“I had a little old lady show up outside the courtroom in Penticton and give the family a hug. In the Okanagan we have it pretty good here. It’s the best place in the world to live and generally people get along, so to have that kind of support is really encouraging.”

The court process has also revealed darker elements of the community as well, with various online forums becoming a battle ground where racism often reared its head.

For the most part, Wilson said, he avoided it.

He did, however, think the Robottis actions were fuelled by racism. Louie’s belongings, for example, were strewn across Penticton Indian Band reserve land.

“How they covered their tracks… with the cell phone and things like that, they were purposely spread on the reserve,” Wilson said. “If that’s not racism, I don’t know what is.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, who was also related to Roxanne, said the failings in the way the courts deal with violence against indiginous women were laid bare during the sentencing process.

“I found it very offensive on the part of the bench to describe the part that the (great grandmother) wouldn’t be there to see the child graduate when the mother is gone,” Phillip said.

“She was brutally, savagely and deliberately murdered and her body was dumped in a very disrespectful way. And for the bench to share that narrative with the relatives was really insensitive and reflects, in my view, the bias in the way this case was handled.”

The reason Canada has violence against women and violence against indigenous women and girls in particular, he said, is because the criminal justice system and the courts are “far too lenient.”

“That’s why this issue has been perpetrated and represents a national disgrace to this country,” he said. “It will continue to be a national disgrace until such time that the courts deal with these cases appropriately. “

Louie’s family, he said, were left with a feeling of sadness, resignation and sense of helplessness when they heard the decision.

Wilson said they felt that way a lot through the trial. First, because they felt Grace should have been charged with first degree murder.Then when a second degree murder charge against Pier was dropped, and he pleaded guilty to indignity to a body.

Louie and her mother were “dragged through the mud,” he said and now the family will do what they can to make sure they’re remembered for who they actually were.

“(Louie) was very loving,” he said. “She had moved on with her life, … her and (the boy’s father) had been split-up for a year and a half, nearly two years and she was enrolled in high fashion design classes and that’s why she moved to Vancouver. She was always drawing and doodling dresses, things like that. So, that was her dream.”

Grace and Pier Robotti were taken away to serve their respective sentences following the court Justice Dev Dley’s decision.

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UPDATE: 11:55 a.m.

Brother and sister Grace and Pier Robotti were sentenced Tuesday morning for their respective roles in the 2015 killing of Penticton’s Roxanne Louie.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley agreed with the Crown and jury recommendation that Grace, 67, should be sentenced to 25 years behind bars with parole eligibility at 10 years. She was also sentenced to 27 months for the additional charges of indignity to a body, to be served concurrently.

Pier will spend an additional 24 months behind bars. Dley went with the joint submission of 27 months, less three months for time served, after Pier pleaded guilty to interference with a dead body in a trial that preceded his sister’s.

Related: Before the judge comes down with his final decision Tuesday morning, Grace took the stand and shared her thoughts.

More to come.

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UPDATE: 11 a..m

Brother and sister Grace and Pier Robotti are set to be sentenced this morning for their respective roles in the 2015 killing of Penticton’s Roxanne Louie.

Crown counsel John Swanson is recommending Grace, 67, spend a minimum of 10 years behind bars before she is eligible for parole. Both Crown and defence counsel submit that Pier should spend an additional two years in prison.

Grace was found guilty of second degree murder. Pier had been charged with second degree murder, but the charge was stayed when he pleaded guilty to interference with a dead body in a trial that preceded his sister’s.

Robotti killed Louie—the mother of her great-grandchild—on Jan. 4, 2015 by hitting her at least 26 times in the head with a small crowbar after an argument between the two had raged out of control.

Both have been out on bail until today’s sentencing.

Related: Before the judge comes down with his final decision Tuesday morning, Grace took the stand and shared her thoughts.

Swanson submitted that Grace should serve 27 months for the charge of indignity to a body, to be served concurrently with her second-degree murder conviction of 25 years. Crown agreed with the jury’s unanimous recommendation of minimum parole eligibility at 10 years.

As for Pier, Crown and defence submit he should serve 27 months, less three months for time served.

Pier spoke in court Tuesday morning and said he “terribly regrets” what he did and is “sorry for” his role in the crime. Especially for the pain he caused the Louie family in the week they thought she was missing.

The judge will return to the court with his decision at 11:30 a.m.

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ORIGINAL: 6 a.m.

Grace and Pier Robotti are expected to be sentenced today for their respective roles in the 2015 killing of Penticton’s Roxanne Louie.

Grace, 67, has been found guilty of second degree murder. Pier had been charged with second degree murder, but the charge was stayed when he pleaded guilty to interference with a dead body in a trial that preceded his sister’s.

Both have been out on bail until sentencing.

Robotti killed Louie—the mother of her great-grandchild—on Jan. 4, 2015 by hitting her at least 26 times in the head with a small crowbar after an argument between the two had raged out of control.

She told the jury, which she had taken responsibility for on Jan. 11, 2015, was an act of self defence. Louie, they were told, had a violent past and Robotti had been witness to flashes of it.

Crown counsel, however, pointed out that the sheer force used during a period that forensic evidence indicates Louie had been rendered immobile, was a sign that she wanted to kill the 26-year-old, thus meeting the standard for second degree murder.

During that trial, Pier told jurors that he intervened in a fight between his sister and the mother of her great grandson.

Louie, he told the court, was atop Grace and holding a crowbar. He tackled her, and they struggled on the floor. She, he told jurors, thrashed on the floor of the unlit room and he tried to subdue her by holding her arms.

He said he could hear his sister hitting her, but he didn’t know with what or how hard.

When Louie stopped moving he stood up to leave and put his hand in her blood. From there he knew something serious happened, but he left the room nonetheless.

He told jurors he left the room to attend to the child and when he returned 30 minutes later, Louie was covered with a blanket and his sister was cleaning blood.

“When I first saw the scene I went outside and started chain smoking,” Pier said.

When his sister joined him outside, he told her to call the police. Instead, she asked him to hide Louie’s body, so she could have time to get the child’s business in order. In particular, she wanted to get the child in the custody of her daughter, his grandmother.

“She said ‘all I ask you to do … is get rid of the body. Take my car,’” Pier recalled Grace asking him.

He slid Louie’s body down a slope off a remote road in Naramata. It was caught on some shrubbery and Pier followed it down, crossed Louie’s arms over her chest. He then offered some words.

“You’re with your elders now,” he recalled telling her for jurors. “Your son’s here and you can look down on them.”

He then went home, and cared for the child while Grace continued on with what she was doing. He told jurors he thought she’d only need two or three days, but it took nearly a week for her to complete what she wanted to get done.

“I knew what I was doing was wrong and I’d be doing some time for it,” he told jurors.