Sadist's Family Begs for Mercy 'We Would Give Our Lives to Change the Events That Occurred. ' -- Statement from Parents of Man Who Tortured Family

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-- Asks for chance to redeem himself -- Life sentence sought in home invasion

He committed unimaginable crimes, randomly torturing a family of four he held hostage inside their own home.

Now, the parents of the disturbed 20-year-old invader are speaking publicly for the first time -- apologizing to the victims and begging the justice system for leniency.

"We can't imagine the unspeakable terror they endured at the hands of our son," began a written statement read aloud in court Thursday by defence lawyer Danny Gunn. "We would give our lives to change the events that occurred in what should have been the safe haven of their home. We pray every day for their healing and hope one day they will feel safe in their home again."

They also vowed to stand by the troubled young man, saying he doesn't deserve the life sentence Manitoba justice officials have requested.

"We ask for mercy from the court. Please give him the opportunity to receive help, to rehabilitate and redeem himself," they wrote. "He is our only son and we feel we have lost him to an illness we don't understand. The sense of loss has shattered the foundation of our existence and has affected every aspect of our lives. We're in a perpetual state of mourning with no real end in sight. Our only child is gone to prison and still has toys in his bedroom."

Gunn wrapped up a three-day sentencing hearing Thursday by saying the accused should only be sentenced to 12 years in prison for the October 2010 ambush in North Kildonan. He told provincial court Judge Rob Finlayson it's much too early for society to give up on his client.

"I certainly understand the desire for vengeance in this case. But it has no place in the justice system," said Gunn. "A true measure of a just society is the manner in which we treat those least deserving of our empathy. …