Although Buhler had originally been scheduled to appear in Smithers Supreme Court on Dec. 7-8, this hearing had to be postponed due to a “late breaking court related matter.”
Flights into Smithers Regional Airport were cancelled the night before the hearing due to fog, according to airport manager Rob Blackburn, which would have made it impossible for the judge to fly in for the sentencing.
The sentencing hearing has been re-scheduled for Feb. 28, 2018.
Earlier this month, Wayne Ruttan, brother of one of the victims, expressed his frustration over the delay.
“Show us some real justice instead of delay, delay and more delay,” he told Lakes District News.
Although Buhler will automatically be sentenced to life in prison for pleading guilty, he still has to attend a sentencing hearing to determine how soon he can be eligible for parole. It will be up to the parole board to determine his eligibility.
Buhler had originally been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, which is deliberate and planned. He later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, which is deliberate but carried out without planning.
According to the Ministry of Attorney General, in the case of second-degree murder, the amount of time that must pass before the offender is eligible for parole is between 10 and 25 years.
On April 27, 2015, at 8:25 a.m., the Burns Lake RCMP attended a residence in the 200 block of Fifth Avenue in Burns Lake after receiving a report of potential foul play. Neighbours said they heard gun shots ring out earlier that morning. When officers entered the residence, they found three people – Ridge Vern Vienneau, Ehr Ola Andersen and Mitchel Wade Ruttan – dead inside.