It will be 2027 before Brandon Phillips is eligible for parole, but for those who knew Larry Wellman, that’s far too soon.
The 29-year-old Phillips was convicted in December 2017 of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Wellman, originally of Corner Brook, in October 2015 in St. John’s.
The Crown was looking for a 15-year period before Phillips was eligible for parole, while the defence was seeking the minimum 10-year period.
On Wednesday, Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Justice Valerie Marshall decided on 12 years, counting time already served. Phillips was arrested in October 2015.
“I thought it was a little weak,” said Rick Saunders, a childhood friend of Wellman who grew up just two houses down the road from him.
“I thought it should have been 15 or 18,” Saunders said, adding he honestly expected it to be 15 years.
“But if you had to say 20, I would’ve gone along with that, too, to tell you the truth.”
Geoff Tulk worked alongside Wellman at the Corner Brook Fire Department during the latter’s 12-year stint there. Wellman started in 1974, with Tulk joining in 1975.
He, too, was expecting at least the 15-year period for parole, but said he didn’t know all the circumstances of the case.
“I would personally have liked to see more,” he said. “But I don’t know the whole situation of what went on.”
Tulk, who worked his final shift as a firefighter with Wellman, said the whole ordeal has been upsetting.
“It was a heartbreaker.”