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Lawyer argues bus stabber's addiction led to killing

Tyler Jack Newton pleaded guilty to manslaughter two years after he killed a man on a Kelowna bus Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.
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June 23, 2016 - 3:11 PM

KELOWNA - The Kelowna man who stabbed a fellow bus rider to death two years ago is not a murderer but a drug addict who had a psychotic episode caused by a lifelong battle with addiction, his lawyer says.

Tyler Jack Newton, 25, has been in jail since he was arrested one day after he stabbed Caesar Rosales in the neck, severing his carotid artery and jugular vein. He fled the scene but police arrested him at his home the next day. Rosales, a popular employee of KF Aerospace, was dead before paramedics arrived.

Newton was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds he did not know what he was doing at the time.

His lawyer Jordan Watt points to Newton’s extensive criminal history, which includes thefts, breaches of paroles, numerous drug and drug dealing convictions, but no violent crimes.

“(Newton) has never done anything like this before,” he told Justice Heather Holmes in Kelowna Supreme Court today, June 23. “From the point of view of moral culpability, there is a link between drug use and psychosis. In assessing his blameworthiness, you have to consider (Newton) was not using these substances to become psychotic. He was using these substances to become intoxicated.”

This is why, he argues, his client deserves to be sentenced for manslaughter rather than murder and should get less than the ten years the Crown is asking for.

In the weeks leading up to the killing, Newton was suffering from grandiose delusions, paranoia, psychosis and hallucinations. A doctor who examined Newton says he did not have the ability to know the consequences of his actions when he stood up on the Number 8 bus and stabbed Rosales in the neck on Oct. 30, 2014.

Newton’s lawyer is expected to wrap up his sentencing submissions Friday, June 24, after which Newton will be sentenced.


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