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Clearwater woman starts sentence for killing husband with shotgun

Family members watched as a Clearwater woman was escorted from the courtroom in handcuffs, starting her sentence early for killing her husband, Dave Simpson, in 2020.

Lawyers presented their cases for Ashleigh Tschritter's prison sentence in B.C. Supreme Court today, but Justice Joel Groves needed more time before he could decide how long the sentence will be.

Tschritter, 33, was convicted of manslaughter on Dec. 22 when a jury found her responsible for killing Simpson, but chose the lesser charge over the original second-degree murder.

Her lawyer suggested she be taken into custody today, March 13, rather than make travel plans to get to court for her sentencing hearing, allowing her to attend by video once Groves reaches a decision.

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"I for one believe I have a responsibility to look a person in the eye when I sentence them," Groves said, but he was willing to make the exception to spare Tschritter more trips from Sechelt, where she was staying while on bail.

Simpson and Tschritter were common-law partners and had three children, who were all in the camper trailer when she shot Simpson with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Crown prosecutor Tim Livingston argued she should spend between 10 and 12 years in prison, while Tschritter's defence lawyers argued for three to five years.

Tschritter shot and killed Simpson after a night of drinking at a campsite near Vavenby on Sept. 6, 2020. She was charged with second-degree murder the next day.

Tschritter and Simpson were shooting Simpson's guns near the campsite, along with a friend.

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At one point, while drinking at the campsite, an argument sparked between Tschritter and Simpson ensued. Tschritter went into the camper trailer and later emerged carrying the shotgun, the court heard.

A friend at the campsite, Gary Flowers, tried to calm her down as she pointed the shotgun at Simpson and believed it was working, Livingston said. She started to lower the shotgun again, but then raised it again and fired birdshot into Simpson's chest.

Flowers went to his truck and called 911 to report the shooting as he drove away. He testified he heard Tschritter yell "Dave" four times, Livingston said.

He later got a Facebook message from Tschritter which said Simpson was dead. She also called 911 and claimed Simpson shot himself.

All three children heard the gunshot and one ran to their father to try to wake him, and got covered in blood from Simpson's body.

The child tried to call for help from her siblings who were crying in the camper trailer.

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They are now living with their godparents and therapists and "unsure the damage can be healed," according to Livingston.

They all have post-traumatic stress disorder. It presents differently for each, except they all have nightmares and scream in their sleep, according to Livingston.

Lawyers will return to court in April to set a future date when Tschritter will finally be sentenced. For now, the court formally cancelled her bail and she'll begin her sentence in a women's correctional facility.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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