Watson Lake kidnapper avoids federal pen

A Watson Lake man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping his former girlfriend won’t be spending any time in federal prison. Instead, Randy Lutz, 27, has been handed a 32-month sentence to be served at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

A Watson Lake man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping his former girlfriend won’t be spending any time in federal prison.

Instead, Randy Lutz, 27, has been handed a 32-month sentence to be served at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

The Crown was seeking a three-and-a-half-year sentence.

With credit for time served, Lutz will spend less than a year and a half behind bars. 

This isn’t the first time Lutz has been sent to the Whitehorse jail. He has an extensive criminal record, with 22 convictions – including six crimes of violence – since 2008.

Lutz was on probation when he was charged with kidnapping his then-girlfriend, Tanya Charlie, in December 2011.

Nevertheless, Yukon Territorial Court Judge Donald Luther said he felt that justice would be better served by handing down a lighter sentence than what the Crown was asking for.

“To impose a sentence which would result in him going to a federal penitentiary would be an excessive step up,” wrote Luther in his decision. “Taking into account all the factors of this case, the offender’s background and his present outlook, the lack of physical injuries to the victims, it is my view that the interests of justice are best served by a jail sentence of two and a half years less credit of 14 months.”

The judge wasn’t the only one that expressed sympathy for Lutz.

Two pre-sentencing reports prepared for the court revealed Lutz had a very troubled background.

“The family history is rife with the all-too-common issues of substance abuse, violence, residential school adversity, poverty, family breakup, racism, suicidal ideation, and quite possibly fetal alcohol syndrome,” wrote Luther.

In a one of the pre-sentencing reports, Kate Hart, a counsellor with the family violence prevention unit who has been working with Lutz for more than three years, called Lutz “compassionate” and wrote that she believes that he “has stabilized to a point where he may be able to begin to work on his childhood trauma related issues.”

In a letter of support from another counsellor, Mary-Anne Steyn said Lutz was close to completing intake forms for a five-week alcohol treatment program on Vancouver Island.

“Randy Lutz initially requested counselling in June 2012 and since that time has been consistent in his desire to make positive, constructive changes in his life,” she wrote in her letter.

In passing his sentence, Luther addressed Lutz directly.

“You have some really good people who are helping you, and I want you to do your utmost to turn things around: otherwise it is just going to be a wasted life for you, coming in and out of jail,” he said. “You have an excellent opportunity now to reverse that, and I truly hope that you do that.”

After he is released, Lutz will spend the next three years on probation. During that time he’s forbidden from contacting his former girlfriend.

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com

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