CFL news: Joshua Boden sentenced

A former professional footballer convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend will not be eligible for parole for 14 years.

Joshua Boden, who once played with the Canadian Football League as a wide receiver, learned of his sentence in a Vancouver courtroom on Friday.

Family and friends of victim Kimberly Hallgarth sat in the front row of the courtroom gallery, crying and sometimes hugging.

Outside of court, Hallgarth’s brother Jamie Errand said nothing will bring his sister back, but they are happy with the sentence.

“I am very happy with the judge’s decision today. I think it was firm and fair,” he said. “The lack of remorse and admission to the crime really isn’t terrible, but it’s not me who has to live with that, it’s someone else.”

Second-degree murder convictions automatically carry a life sentence in British Columbia, so it was up to the judge to determine when Boden would be eligible for parole. The Crown asked for 15 years, while Boden’s legal team suggested 12 years.

Boden, 35, was convicted last year of second-degree murder in Hallgarth. The 33-year-old woman was killed in 2009 in Burnaby, British Columbia, the home she shared with her three-year-old daughter.

During Boden’s sentencing hearing, the British Columbia Supreme Court heard that Boden violently beat his ex-girlfriend, strangled her, and then staged the scene in an attempt to make passing his death off as an accident.

Judge Arne Silverman told the court the Crown said the ‘protracted nature of the murder’ was an aggravating factor, in which Boden stomped on Hallgarth’s neck and chest and put pills and socks in his mouth before strangling him.

The Crown called his murder “brutal, brutal and gruesome”, with prosecutor Brendan McCabe describing his injuries as the most shocking he had seen in his career.

McCabe told the court that photos of her injuries that she said stemmed from an assault by Boden were sent to then BC Lions coach Wally Buono. The prosecutor said Boden blamed Hallgarth for the end of his career.

The killing took place the year after Boden was released from the BC Lions, with whom he hadn’t signed until 2007.

At the time of his release, he planned to play with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but never played in a regular season game with the team. He was kicked out of the team.

Boden maintained his innocence throughout the trial.

As Boden walked out of the courtroom with the sheriffs, he said “have a nice day.” It is unclear to whom the statement was directed.

Errand said his sister had an infectious laugh, loved people and treated her friends like family.

“It’s a sad day but you know once again I have gratitude to be here and we finally have closure,” he said. “She failed.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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