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

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Suspects charged after police incident by golf course

Mission and Maple Ridge RCMP combined forces to arrest two men

UPDATE: Fuel truck hits train in Port Coquitlam, causing massive fire

CP Rail reporting no injuries, driver of truck is safe.

Mission RCMP recover 22 stolen vehicles and several firearms

Charges are still pending after police search two separate properties

Fraser Health asking taxpayers for millions more in health care capital funding

Health authority wants Fraser Valley taxpayers to triple annual contribution to $5.75 million

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Most Read