B.C. man gets life sentence for murder of teen girl
George Roswell Osmond,21, is escorted by sheriffs to a waiting van at the back of the Courtenay Court House.
Photograph by: Deddeda Stemler, Victoria Times Colonist
NANAIMO, B.C. — George Osmond will spend at least 25 years in prison for the 2004 first-degree murder of 13-year-old Kayla John of Zeballos, a tiny village on the east coast of Vancouver Island.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Josephson handed down the life sentence in the Nanaimo courthouse Friday, meaning Osmond will not be eligible for parole for 25 years.
Osmond, 26, was also a resident of Zeballos.
The sentence was "what we were hoping for," said Kelly John, Kayla’s grandfather. "I stood right there when the guy came out of the courthouse and I think: ‘Why the hell are you still walking?’ Where is my granddaughter?’ "
The verdict brought to a close the second trial in the high-profile case involving the murder of Kayla. Shock gripped the quiet community of 220 when a dog uncovered her battered, bloody body beneath some woody debris in the backyard of a rented trailer in April 2004. Court heard testimony that she had been sexually assaulted and then beaten to death on her own bed.
The Nanaimo courtroom was too small for the dozens of family members gathered. Listening outside in the hallway, they wept and hugged after the verdict. Others nodded their approval. One gave the thumbs-up sign.
A previous guilty verdict in the first case, heard in Campbell River, was later quashed when it was determined Osmond wasn’t given proper access to a lawyer.
The delays created strain for family members trying to grieve the death of the girl.
Kayla’s family are members of the Ehattesaht tribe, one of the 14 Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations whose members are scattered around Vancouver Island.
They held a potlatch to celebrate the dead teenager’s life three years ago.
"It was in our tradition that we release her and let our sorrows go and then they announced that we were going to do a trial again," said Velina Vincent, whose sister is Kayla’s grandmother.
"We were caught between two worlds; a world where our elders say put our sorrows away and another world where we have to deal with this all over again."
Ehattesaht Chief Fred Adams said he was relieved when he heard the verdict.
"I was really scared this morning (driving) down, of what the verdict was going to be," Adams said. "We need to let her go. We need to let her rest now. I pray to God that this is it, we’re finished."