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B.C. mom who killed daughter loses murder sentence appeal

A second-degree murder sentence of 15 years before parole eligibility for a South Surrey mother who killed her daughter is appropriate, B.C's Court of Appeal has ruled.
The Scales of Justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
The scales of justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

B.C.’s Court of Appeal has rejected a sentence appeal from a South Surrey mother convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her eight-year-old daughter Dec. 10, 2014.

Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein’s decision for the unanimous three-judge panel said Lisa Batstone killed sleeping Teagan Batstone by smothering her with a plastic bag.

Batstone claimed she intended to die by suicide, so she killed Teagan to protect her from Gabe Batstone, her ex‑husband and Teagan’s father, whom she alleged had inflicted mental and emotional abuse upon them.

The court heard Lisa wanted to kill herself but did not want Gabe to get the child.

"The only way to make sure that did not happen was to kill her too,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Murray said at sentencing.

Lisa was sentenced to 15 years in prison before parole eligibility. She appealed that sentence, asking that it be reduced to 10 years.

In a May 12 decision released May 18, the appeal court found the original sentence to be a fit one.

“That a parent could kill her own child rocks the foundation of societal values,” Murray said. “When it is for a selfish reason as it was here, it is all the more shocking.”

Murray said she was satisfied it was not an impulsive act.

An appeal of the conviction has already been dismissed.

In her appeal, Lisa said the judge erred by failing to consider the mitigating effect of her mental disorders and relying on aggravating factors unsupported by the evidence.

The three-judge appeal panel disagreed.

“The judge did not fail to consider the contribution of mental illness to lessen moral culpability,” the ruling said. “She simply concluded Ms. Batstone’s mental disorders did not have an appreciable effect on her decision to kill Teagan.”

Lisa had also claimed her love for her daughter led to the death so she would not have to live with Gabe.

The appeal judges, however, said it wasn’t wrong for the judge to view Lisa’s love for Teagan as an aggravating factor.

“This was a loving relationship in which Teagan placed the utmost trust in her mother. To betray that innocent and steadfast trust in the most horrible of ways is unthinkable,” the judges ruled. “Further, although filicide is always an egregious breach of trust, when done for a selfish reason, it is all the more reprehensible, laying the basis for a harsher punishment.”