Man harassed dead woman's family online

Jessica Riopelle's body was found in a room at an Ottawa inn on March 26, 2011 next to the strip...

Jessica Riopelle's body was found in a room at an Ottawa inn on March 26, 2011 next to the strip club where she worked. (Submitted Photo)

Megan Gillis, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:09 PM ET

OTTAWA — A judge told a man who wished Jessica Riopelle's mother "happy dead daughter day" on the anniversary of her killing that what he did defies description.

But Judge Ann Alder gave it a try.

"It goes far beyond the boundaries of human decency," Alder told Joel Roche Friday. "There are no words to describe what you did, sir. It is simply vile, cruel and offensive.

"You terrorized a family that was already shattered by unimaginable violence."

In a rare move, Alder gave Roche more time than the Crown sought.

Crown attorney Peter Napier asked for three months behind bars on top of two months time served. Alder gave him four, saying she had to send a strong message to the 25-year-old Algonquin College student and anyone tempted to harass vulnerable victims on the Internet.

Last Christmas Day, Roche threatened Jessica Riopelle's sister on Facebook.

"Gangstas line up: murder Chelsea Riopelle, $1,000 cash for video," Roche wrote.

On March 23, while he was out on bail charged with uttering threats, he sent Karen Riopelle a Facebook message.

"Happy f---ing dead daughter day," he wrote along with a picture of Jessica Photoshopped with a hammer and blood.

The 23-year-old was found dead on March 27, 2011. It's believed she was bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

Patrick Dunac, 35, will go on trial in October.

Roche told a QMI Agency reporter at Jessica Riopelle's funeral that he'd gone to high school with her and would miss her smile and laugh.

Karen Riopelle was sad and scared at facing her first Christmas without Jessica when Roche's threats to Chelsea left her feeling "fear and helplessness."

"She had to live with the loss of one daughter and the fear of losing another daughter," Alder said.

Then, when she was sent the message about Jessica, "it was devastating — he basically brought her back to hell," Alder said.

Roche apologized in court for what he'd done but Alder noted it was the first time he showed any sign of remorse for his deliberate cruelty.

A psychiatrist concluded Roche lacks empathy and is an arrogant narcissist with disdain for others who's abused pot, crack and alcohol.

Defence lawyer Mark Ertel asked for a suspended sentence, arguing his client — who's been hospitalized for mental health problems before — needs help he can't get behind bars.

But Alder concluded mental illness didn't play an important role in what he did, noting "the major problem seems to be in the realm of his personality."


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