Sechelt man pleads guilty to second-degree murder of his mother

A Sechelt man who was accused of beating his mother to death with a dumbbell has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Donovan Michael Penner pleaded guilty on Monday, just a week after his trial began in B.C. Supreme Court.

“A guilty plea in any investigation speaks to the hard work and dedication of all the agencies involved,” said Cpl. Frank Jang with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

“It is important to acknowledge the efforts of our IHIT investigators, the support from the Sunshine Coast RCMP and the partnership with crown counsel.”

On Oct. 1, 2014, Sunshine Coast RCMP were called to a home where Denise Esme Lachance was found dead, having suffered severe injuries. Lachance’s son, Penner, was arrested a short time later and charged with second-degree murder.


Penner’s trial began on Tuesday last week and he had initially entered a plea of not guilty.

The court heard how Penner had been living with his mother and his mother’s husband on and off for about two or three years and that on the last occasion, was living with them for several months. Both Penner and his mother dealt with mental health issues, while Penner also battled alcohol addiction, according to Crown counsel.

In October 2014, Lachance’s husband took out his hearing aid and went to bed. When he woke to use the bathroom one night, he noticed his wife was not in bed with him. He then searched the home and found his wife naked and bloodied in Penner’s room.

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During the trial, Crown counsel told court there was evidence that would prove a 10-pound dumbbell had been used to inflict the fatal injuries on Lachance.

On Tuesday, homicide investigators announced Penner had changed his plea.

“It is IHIT’s sincere hope that this will bring some closure to the family and friends of Ms. Lachance,” said Jang.

Penner’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2018.


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