Jail for Kelowna man who shot himself in eye during botched home invasion

Walter Daryl Spence, 49, was arrested at Kelowna General Hospital Feb. 17, 2016. One of his eyes was missing and he had a bullet lodged in his brain.
Image Credit: Submitted/CrimeStoppers

KELOWNA – A Kelowna man who accidentally shot himself in the eye with a rifle while attempting a home invasion in Glenmore last year was sentenced to five and a half years in jail today.

Walter Daryl Spence, 49, was arrested at Kelowna General Hospital last winter. One of his eyes was missing and he had a bullet lodged in his brain.

During a joint submission in Kelowna this week, Supreme Court Justice Emily Burke heard that on Feb. 17, 2016, a woman knocked on the door of a unit at the Yaletown condominiums in Glenmore.

When the resident of the condo opened the door, Spence and another man forced their way inside. One of the men carried a sawed-off .22 caliber rifle and the other had a knife. During the ensuing struggle the rifle discharged.

“We need to go. I shot myself in the face,” Spence reportedly said.

He was arrested at the hospital, one eye missing and the bullet still in his head.

His criminal record includes charges and convictions for theft, possession of stolen property, assaulting a peace officer, drug possession, trafficking and numerous breaches of probation and conditions. 

One of two female accomplices with the two men that night, Michelle Dawn Pieritsch, was sentenced to time served - roughly 411 days – for pleading guilty to assault.

The man with the knife was sentenced to three years in jail. As a young offender, his name is protected from publication. 

"Mr. Spence lost his right eye and continues to have a bullet in his brain," Burke says, noting that he received the mandatory minimum sentence because he has since sought treatment for the heroin addiction that drove the robbery attempt.

He was sentenced today, Sept. 12, to five years for the armed robbery attempt and an additional six months for possessing a prohibited weapon.

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