Darcy Richard Bertrand

Darcy Richard Bertrand

Roufosse family relieved after killer dies in prison

Darcy Richard Bertrand stabbed to death three members of the Roufosse family on Thanksgiving Sunday in 1995 in Coquitlam's Maillardville.

It was Friday morning when Kurt Roufosse picked up the phone and learned that Darcy Richard Bertrand, the man who had viciously murdered three members of his family in 1995, had died in prison a few days earlier.

“You never hope for someone to die, you would rather see him behind bars for the rest of his life,” Roufosse said. “But we were kind of worried he would get out in five or 10 years…so it’s justice in a sense. There’s no way he deserved to be out.”

It was Thanksgiving Sunday in 1995 when the 29-year-old Bertrand, in a simmering, jealous rage, went to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Maillardville and waited for the parents of his former common-law wife, Annette Roufosse, to leave church.

When Mass ended just before noon, Henry and Celine Roufosse, along with their eldest grandchild, headed outside. Bertrand stabbed first the 60-year-old Celine, then her 63-year-old husband when he came to her aid. Annette’s seven-year-old boy witnessed the event and ran away.

Bertrand then drove a short distance to the Roufosse’s home on Therrien Street, where he tried to kick down the front door. He smashed through the front door window and, when he started walking toward a neighbour, Annette Roufosse, 29, walked out of the basement.

She was carrying her and Bertrand’s one-year-old baby, with their three-year-old beside her, when Bertrand stabbed her 11 times. He then grabbed the children and drove to his parents’ south Burnaby home, where he was arrested a short time later after he called 911 for an ambulance to treat a severed tendon in his finger.

At the time, Bertrand was under a court order not to contact Annette or her children after being charged with assault and sexual assault involving one of her children.

The killings gutted the Roufosse family and stunned the close-knit Maillardville community.

“Henry and Celine’s door was always open and their help, advice and good company they gave without limit,” said Fr. Stan Frytek, the parish priest at Our Lady of Lourdes in 1995, at their funeral. Just five days earlier, Frytek had rushed outside the church to perform the last rites on his dying friends in the church parking lot.

In June 1996, on the day his trial was to start in B.C. Supreme Court for three counts of first-degree murder, Bertrand stood up to plead guilty to second-degree murder.

“He should get life, of course,” said Gerry Roufosse, the eldest of Henry and Celine’s four children, said outside the courtroom at the time.

Bertrand was later sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years. At the hearing he broke down in sobs, saying he couldn’t ask for the family’s forgiveness because he couldn’t forgive himself.

“I only wish there was a death sentence for my deeds,” Bertrand said.

Just 10 years into his sentence, however, Bertrand applied for escorted day passes so that he could see his mother and buy plants for his prison projects.

The application was denied, though Bertrand was eligible to re-apply for day passes after six months. He would have been eligible for unescorted leaves this year, and for full parole in September 2015.

Kurt Roufosse, Annette’s cousin and nephew to Henry and Celine, said the family is relieved they won’t have to endure Bertrand’s attempts to gain freedom.

“With a heinous crime like that, there’s no way…he deserves to get out.”

And he said Annette’s three children, two of whom are grown and living on their own, are doing okay.

“They seem to be doing all right, they’re working, they’re living their life,” he said.

On Tuesday, Aug. 14, Bertrand was found unresponsive in his cell at the medium-security Mission Institution and later died in hospital.

Regional coroner Vincent Stancato said the BC Coroners Service is in the early stages of its investigation to determine the cause of death. There will not be an autopsy but investigators will conduct a post-mortem examination and toxicology tests.

The decision to conduct an autopsy “depends on whether or not there’s an indication of what the cause of death may or may not be,” Stancato said. “In some cases the cause of death might be more clear to the coroner.”

spayne@tricitynews.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

Jay Matte (right), president of Pressland Printing in downtown Mission, passes a customer her purchase. Many local businesses say the new mandatory mask order is a positive step to help protect customers and staff alike. / Kevin Mills Photo
Mission businesses, workers say they’re happy with new mask mandate

Most say they’ve had little problem enforcing the of new rules

Jag Deol, owner of Sangam Restaurant and Catering, is collecting non-perishable food items for the St. Joseph's Food Bank at both his restaurant locations in Mission. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Indian restaurant asks for food-bank donations when Missionites pick up take-out orders

Sangam Restaurant and Catering hosting food drive until Dec. 20, will match all donations made

Kenny (left) and Bobby Braich, the Braich family estate’s representatives, will have to pay $676,000 to their former estate lawyer, James Carphin, for legal work dating from December 2004 to October 2010. / Patrick Penner Photo
Former lawyer for Braich Family Estate wins case over unpaid legal debts in B.C. Supreme Court

Braich family recently in dispute with District of Mission over failed development deal

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Most Read