KAMLOOPS - It was an emotional day in court for the family of Salmon Arm man Tyler Myers, who was shot and killed more than eight years ago, as they listened to the gunman apologize for his actions.
But they also learned there will be an adjournment in the sentencing hearing. The man who killed Myers was 16 years old at the time of the offence and cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The sentencing hearing began for the now 25-year-old yesterday, Jan. 23 in Kamloops Supreme Court, to determine whether he should be given an adult or youth sentence for committing first-degree murder.
Today, defence lawyer Donna Turko brought up a new strategy she's considering for her client. It's called the Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision program, available to youth who have committed violent crimes and have a diagnosed mental illness.
Turko has argued her client was manipulated by his girlfriend, Monica Sikorski, into killing her other boyfriend, 22-year-old Myers. The planned and deliberate slaying happened in November 2008.
Defence lawyer says teen who murdered Salmon Arm man was addicted to love: More on the case
She says the 16-year-old was 'addicted' to Sikorski's love.
Turko argues that his fragile emotional state at the time is enough to warrant the supervision program, although a pre-sentence report and psychiatric report show the man had no mental illness at the time of or following the murder.
According to the Ministry of Justice, provinces are provided funding through the supervision program to support intense rehabilitation and therapy for "violent youth with mental health issues."
Crown prosecutor Evan Goulet argues there are a number of pre-requisites a case must meet in order to proceed with the supervision program and says this case doesn't meet those requirements.
The program will only be made available if the convicted man is given a youth sentence, which carries with it a maximum penalty of six years in custody and four years of community supervision for a first-degree murder conviction. If the man is sentenced as an adult, he will need to serve 10 years in prison before being eligible for parole and will remain under supervision for the rest of his life.
A jury found the man guilty of the offence last year, accepting the fact that the murder was planned and deliberate. Goulet told the court Sikorski and her 16-year-old lover had borrowed a car, gun and sought out the crime scene prior to Myers being killed.
Turko has argued her client was immature for his age and 'addicted' to Sikorski's love. He addressed the Myers family in court today, stepping out of the prisoner's box onto the witness stand so he could look at them.
"At the first mention of harming Tyler, I should have walked away," he said, reading from a written letter. "It is no one's fault but my own for being where I am."
He also apologized to his own family, but most of all, he said, he's sorry he cut Myers' life much too short.
"I unfairly and selfishly took your life away," he said.
"Mrs. Myers, I took your son away from you. I want you all to know how sorry I am for taking Tyler away from you."
He apologized to the community of Salmon Arm, a city, he says, which has always supported him even in the toughest of times. He says there is no room in Salmon Arm for crimes like this.
Turko will need to decide by Friday morning, Jan. 27, whether or not she has enough evidence to follow through with an application for the supervision program.
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