PENTICTON - Days without sleep combined with an excessive intake of alcohol and drugs led to the manslaughter of Reece Louie at the hands of his brother, Kyle Louie, Penticton Supreme Court heard today, Jan. 21.
Crown Prosecutor John Swanson presented B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen recommended Kyle serve more than six years in prison with a lengthy long-term offender status for the manslaughter of his brother, Reece.
Swanson said the two brothers were at work at the Inkameep Campground on Feb. 29, 2011 when a fist-fight broke out between the two at approximately 1:30 p.m. Their supervisor witnessed the incident and fired them and told them to leave the yard. The supervisor heard Kyle make a threat against his brother at the time.
Reece called his father, Clifford, who picked him up and took him to Clifford’s house. He told Reece not to stay because Kyle was already there. Reece refused, saying he wanted to take a shower. The three converged in the kitchen where a heated argument took place. Kyle was told to leave the house, but merely left the room. Clifford then told Reece to leave, but before he could, Kyle came back into the room, brandishing a knife which he swung from side to side. Reece fled to his bedroom.
Clifford left and went to his mother’s house a short distance away, where he called police. As he waited for the authorities, he saw Reece stumble out of the house and fall to the ground.
Paramedics arrived shortly after and found Reece suffering several stab wounds. They said he smelled of alcohol and had great difficulty breathing. He was unconscious and in critical condition at 4:30 p.m. He died roughly four hours later.
Police arrived, but Kyle had already left the scene. Clifford’s mother, Lucy, got a call from Kyle later that day, saying he was at a friend’s. He asked her for a ride back to Clifford’s house, and was arrested after Lucy picked him up.
Swanson told Judge Cullen police found marijuana, Ativan and other prescription medication on Kyle after his arrest. He admitted to drinking a 26-ounce bottle of whiskey, in addition to having smoked some “weed.” He said he had some new medication “so I don’t get angry.” Kyle also had some recent cuts, and reddish stains on his clothes.
He admitted to drinking a lot that morning, but claimed not to remember much else. A breath test taken approximately nine hours after the incident revealed a high blood alcohol level.
Kyle said he was unsure how he got home from work, but thought he hitchhiked. The police investigation turned up the knife, discarded in a field near the Louie home. Kyle admitted to police he threw the knife there.
He was charged with second degree murder on Feb. 19, 2011. The charge was later reduced to manslaughter.
Crown and defence counsel recommended a jail term of 75 months, or just over six years. He would also be declared a long-term offender for a further 5.5 years or 66 months. The designation allows authorities to keep a closer eye on him after his release.
At issue for both parties was whether or not Kyle posed a high risk to re-offend.
In a report, Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe, a forensic psychiatrist, described Kyle’s troubled past of a broken home, drugs, and alcohol abuse. The two brothers spent part of their school years living with their drug- and alcohol-addicted mother, and the other part with a stern father who encouraged them to express their emotions only in anger.
During adolescence, Kyle began cutting himself when intoxicated, and in his late teens increased his drug and alcohol intake considerably.
Lohrasbe’s report described Kyle’s personality as having a “lack of sophistication” but did not present himself as a psychopathic personality. He had limited vocabulary, memory issues and took numerous medications. He also acknowledged he had difficulty controlling anger.
Defence lawyer Tom Arbogast said in addition to the alcohol and substance abuse, Kyle went 55 hours without sleep prior to the incident.
“He admitted blacking out, and the two brothers had a significant history of fighting,” Arbogast said.
Arbogast said Kyle’s behavioural issues began to escalate as he moved into adulthood, noting he often engaged in self-cutting, as well as trying to overdose once. He described Kyle’s escalating daily drinking habits and increasing drug use, which included marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and crystal meth.
"At the time of the incident, he was clearly someone who was out of control," Arbogast said, adding it was clear he blacked out. “When told he was being arrested for murder, he asked, ‘of who?’"
Both lawyers described Kyle as being remorseful, noting his achievements during his last four years in custody at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.
If Judge Cullen accepts the recommended sentence, Kyle would be released in six months considering the time already served.
Judge Cullen is expected to hand down his decision on Jan. 22. at 10 p.m.
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