A former Abbotsford man who previously pleaded guilty to killing his half-sister, Rachel Pernosky of Mission, will be eligible for parole in 13 years, a judge ruled this week.
But taking into account two years’ credit for time already served, Mathew Pernosky, 33, can apply for parole in 11 years.
Justice Trevor Armstrong agreed with the joint sentencing recommendation that had been made by Crown and defence lawyers at a hearing for Pernosky on June 21.
Pernosky pleaded guilty in May to the second-degree murder of Rachel. The crime comes with an automatic life sentence, but parole eligibility can range from 10 to 25 years.
Armstrong said Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster that he believed 13 years was an appropriate time for Pernosky to wait to apply for parole, based on rulings in similar cases.
Armstrong emphasized that Pernosky will serve a life sentence – even if he’s released, he will always have to abide by certain conditions – and parole is never guaranteed.
He described Pernosky’s behaviour as “repulsive.”
Information presented at the hearing on June 21 indicated that Pernosky suffocated Rachel, 18, in March 2013 because he was angry about how she was acting over his sexual abuse of her as a child.
Pernosky was later arrested following a “Mr. Big” sting in which an undercover officer posed as the head of a criminal organization and Pernosky confessed to the killing.
Pernosky told “Mr. Big” that he was upset that Rachel had been “acting like a victim” when he was the one who had suffered by being charged and going through the court process for molesting Rachel as a child.
Pernosky told Mr. Big that he hit Rachel on the head, pinned her down and suffocated her by holding his hand over her mouth and nose.
He then took her body to his Abbotsford residence, sexually assaulted her and dumped her body in Chilliwack.
Rachel’s body was found three days later in steep terrain near old Orchard Road.
Pernosky then attempted to cover up the crime by sending texts to and from Rachel’s phone after the killing and disposing of her keys and some other personal items.
Pernosky faced two other charges of indignity to a human body for having sexual contact with and disposing of the body, but they were stayed at sentencing.
Rachel’s sister, Brittany Pernosky, spoke outside of the courtroom after the sentencing, responding to Pernosky’s claims that he had suffered.
“(Rachel) was the victim – she was the only victim. Mathew’s not the victim. He may depict himself as a victim in order to get sympathy, but he is not a victim – that’s the bottom line,” she said.
Brittany said her family hopes to use their experiences to help others going through similar tragic circumstances.
“We feel like there needs to be more support. A mother shouldn’t have to go down to a bank to close their dead daughter’s bank account or receive mail for her deceased daughter three months after she’s passed away,” she said.
Brittany said the family would like to see a person appointed to grieving families to take care of such tasks as making phone calls to the government so that they don’t have to keep reliving that their loved one is deceased.