REGINA – After John Strang shot and killed his wife in their Saskatchewan home, he drove his Jeep — packed with guns, ammunition, handcuffs and duct tape — to the home of a female friend for a chilling conversation.
He told Lynn Larsen that she haunted him and he fantasized about raping her.
He said he thought about killing a lot of people and that he had killed his wife earlier that day.
“It was just out of the blue,” Larsen told The Canadian Press. “I just shot up a quick prayer in my head, not that he saw, to help me through.
“I felt that I couldn’t show fear — that would have been a big mistake.”
The conversation between Strang and Larsen lasted nearly two hours on the night of Aug. 1, 2015, at her ranch home near Rockford, east of Saskatoon.
Her grandchildren were staying with her and had gone to bed.
Her husband, Roland, was out at a singing competition, but she told Strang he was expected home at 11 p.m.
A few minutes before 11 p.m., Strang headed for the door.
“You are lucky your grandkids were here, because I would never hurt a child,” he told her.
After Strang left, Larsen called police.
Officers found Lisa Strang dead on a basement sofa in the couple’s home in McLean, east of Regina. She had been shot in the back and in the head.
Strang was arrested two days later near North Battleford.
Details of the case emerged in a Regina courtroom earlier this month when Strang pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 47-year-old wife and to uttering a death threat against Larsen, now 58.
Strang, 50, is to receive an automatic life sentence this Wednesday. Crown and defence lawyers have jointly recommended he not be eligible for parole for 17 years.
“I hope that he never gets out,” said Lisa Strang’s aunt, Pat Torgrimson of Swift Current, Sask.
She describes John Strang as a controlling figure who didn’t want his wife to have much contact with her family.
“I never liked him from Day 1,” said Torgrimson. “He kept her under his thumb.”
Court heard the couple met at the University of Regina and married in 1991.
In 2004, Lisa Strang became finance director for the governing Saskatchewan Party.
“I personally watched over the years how she mentored and helped her colleagues to become, not just better employees, but also better people,” Patrick Bundrock, the party’s executive director, told court in his victim impact statement.
He described how she listened to Celtic music and Simon and Garfunkel songs in her office. She crafted blankets each time a co-worker had a baby. She cared about people, he said.
“In 2005, I lost my daughter. And every year on the anniversary of her passing I would receive a beautiful homemade card from Lisa. She would always remember, each and every year.”
In the last three years of her life, Lisa Strang lost 100 pounds by walking on a treadmill at home each night after work. She became more confident and happy, Bundrock said.
She also complained openly about her marriage, court heard. She didn’t like her husband’s spending habits and was frequently paying off his debts.
About the same time, John Strang, an off-and-on truck driver, griped to others about a lack of intimacy with his wife.
And then he met Lynn Larsen.
He was introduced to Larsen and her husband through a friend and developed a secret, erotic fixation on the woman, court heard.
In June 2015, Strang phoned Roland Larsen and lied about having stomach cancer and only a few months to live. He asked to stay at their property to get away from things.
He then purchased handcuffs and sexual enhancement supplements from the internet.
And, showing off four guns in the back of his Jeep, he told a co-worker: “I could shoot someone, no problem.”
When Bundrock learned that police were searching for Strang, he knew something bad had happened to her. He sent a text hoping she was OK, but never got a response.
“Lisa always put John first,” Bundrock told the judge.
“I am so angry because Lisa was on the way to becoming a new person, and she had so much potential and she was killed by the person that she trusted the most.”
Larsen says she never got to meet Lisa Strang.
And she’s still trying to get over her terrifying night with John Strang.
“It hasn’t been easy,” she said. “I don’t think it ever will be.”
— By Chris Purdy in Edmonton