A Canadian man beat his wife to death with a sledgehammer, then lured his two daughters to their deaths under the pretense of playing a game in a case that bears some eerie parallels to that of Chris Watts, whose own family murder gripped the U.S. a year ago.
Jacob Forman, of Kelowna, British Columbia, was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife Clara Forman, 33, and his daughters Karina, 7 and Yesenia, 9, in British Columbia Supreme Court on Monday, the CBC reports. The sentence came a little more than a week after he pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of wife and the first-degree murders of his kids.
The victims’ bodies were found in the family garage just days before Christmas 2017, but the gruesome manner in which they died was only disclosed in court on Monday.
The couple were arguing in their bedroom on Dec. 17 about Jacob’s drinking when he turned violent and hit her in the head with a sledgehammer three times, according to the Global News. After the first strike, Clara reportedly asked her husband, “Why are you doing this?”
The father then took Karina and Yesenia out to shovel snow before taking them to church. Hours after he killed their mother, and after attending church with the girls, he told them he wanted to play a game with them. Using a hobby horse toy, which is typically a stuffed horse’s head on a stick, he choked one of them to death in their bedroom, using the stick to apply pressure to their throat; he killed the other in the same manner, according to the CBC.
“He said he thought it would be better for them to go home to heaven than to grow up in a world where daddy had killed mommy,” prosecutor Murray Kaay said during the sentencing hearing, CTV News reports.
Kaay went on to say that, “he killed his children in a callous, cowardly manner.”
Two days after the grisly murders, police did a welfare check after friends were unable to reach Clara and the children. Forman had told one friend that his wife and children left him. Their bodies were found in his garage instead.
Forman’s lawyer claimed that his client had alcohol issues and was in a state of withdrawal during the murders.
“He was actually in a process of withdrawal. He was of the view that he was not helping his family by being so alcoholic,” attorney Raymond Dieno told reporters last week after the guilty pleas, according to the Vancouver Sun. “He wanted to withdraw, but he tried to withdraw without support or treatment, and that obviously led to devastating consequences.”
He will be eligible for parole in 35 years.
The case has parallels to the Watts case, which came to national attention in August 2018.
Chris Watts became one of the most infamous family murderers in American history after he confessed to killing his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, and his two young daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. He admitted to strangling his wife in their bedroom after an argument before smothering his daughters, one by one, before dumping the bodies in an oil field where he worked.
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