Edmonton Man Sentenced to Life in Prison After Mistaken-Identity Murder

Ending a relationship is a difficult process, but extremely rarely does anybody actually cause physical harm to their ex significant other. In 2016, though, tragedy struck when Theresa Butler and Lenny Lavallee had broken up after a three month relationship in Edmonton. Shortly after their split, Butler had been with her friend for a walk.

That friend, Nicole Cooney, took her dog’s leash while Butler walked ahead of the two. Lavallee then approached Cooney, thinking that she was Butler from behind in part because of the dog. Butler had heard Lavallee’s voice and then a gunshot, turning around to see that her friend had been shot in the back. Tragically, Cooney had passed away at the scene at just 30 years old.

The police were called to the scene, and Lavallee was subsequently arrested. He had already been on probation for domestic violence, in what Justice Eldon Simpson said is “the same, unfortunate, predictable pattern” that he’s seen in the likes of Lavallee and other similar criminals. With that, Simpson sentenced Lavallee to life in prison, and not eligible for parole until 16 years have passed.

“He remains a danger to the public,” Simpson added. “His jealousy remains unaddressed. He has not dealt with the inner turmoil that has brought him to this place in his life.” Many are left wondering how he could have such a disregard for human life. “It defies any logical explanation,” the judge said.