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Anger after day parole for Penticton woman who killed great-grandson’s mom

Grace Robotti killed Roxanne Louie and was given a life sentence but now has day parole
Grace Elinor Robotti (at right) led from the Penticton courthouse by a sheriff in 2015 following her appearance. Penticton Western News file photo

A great-grandmother found guilty of killing a woman by beating her 26 times with a crowbar, will be granted day parole.

Family and friends of murder victim Roxanne Louie are organizing a march for justice to Penticton’s courthouse after learning of the parole board decision regarding Grace Elinor Robotti.

Robotti was handed a mandatory life sentence in 2017 for killing Louie. The victim was the mother of Robotti’s great-grandchild.

During the trial, the jury had been told by Robotti’s lawyer that the killing, which she had taken responsibility for Jan. 11, 2015, was an act of self-defence. Louie, the jury heard, had a violent past and Robotti had been witness to flashes of it.

Crown counsel, however, pointed out, the forensic evidence showed that the sheer force used for a prolonged period indicated Louie had been rendered immobile and was a sign that Robotti wanted to kill the 26-year-old.

Robotti and her brother Pier attempted to cover up the killing by dumping Louie’s body off a rural Naramata area road. Pier received a 27-month sentence for his role.

Robotti’s life sentence came with no eligibility for full parole for 10 years, but she received approval in 2022 for escorted absences for personal development at a not-for-profit thrift store.

A year later, in December 2023, the Parole Board of Canada granted her day parole status.

Marty Marchand is organizing the walk, which will start at the Penticton Library at 1 p.m. and head down Main Street to the Penticton Courthouse.

“We want to get the attention, we want to get the message out there that we want equality and fairness as Indigenous people,” said Marchand. “Roxanne may not have a voice [herself], but she has a voice through many of us and we won’t be silenced.”

Marchand said that the treatment Robotti was receiving from the parole board, which she believes the court showed at sentencing, is an unfairness in the system which doesn’t give enough weight to Indigenous victims particularly Indigenous women who are murdered.

“If the shoe was on the other foot, if I had killed a white girl, I know I’d be sentenced for a lot longer and harsher, no eligibility for parole for 25 years,” said Marchand. “I would have been made an example of. I would be serving time in a maximum security prison, not minimum security.

“It just continues to prove that in a sense that Roxanne didn’t matter, but she did matter.”

Friends and family of Louie hope that through a community response and voicing of concerns, that the parole board might reconsider its decision and take a closer look at the impact statements sent to the board before retracting the day parole.

READ MORE: Jurors are left to decide killer’s fate

READ MORE: Penticton murderer Grace Robotti gets escorted leave for community service

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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