KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops man found guilty of setting an apartment on fire — which caused the death of a woman — has been sentenced to 7-and-a-half years in jail.
David Peter Gordon, 36, has also been designated a long term offender, so he will spend the 10 years after his release on supervision. He was also sentenced to an additional three months in jail after pleading guilty to assaulting his girlfriend.
Since Gordon has been granted time served for the manslaughter and arson convictions, he will only have to spend two more years in a federal penitentiary.
Crown and the defence made a joint submission for the 7-and-a-half year jail sentence.
Court heard during trial Gordon and his girlfriend spent most of April 25, 2013 drinking. Gordon later told a doctor it was "welfare day" and he spent money on alcohol.
The couple returned to Gordon's house at 927 St. Paul St. downtown. They got in a fight and the woman called police. She decided to spend the night in a shelter.
Crown prosecutor Neil Flanagan told Kamloops Supreme Court today, Dec. 12, Gordon wanted to "get back at her" for calling the police on him. He decided to set a box of her belongings on fire.
Flanagan says it was "too late" by the time Gordon told his roommate he had started a fire. His roommate attempted to wake his houseguest, Cheryl William, but couldn't do so before he evacuated the home.
Firefighters arrived and carried William out of the house. She spent the next week in hospital before her family decided to take her off life support. William's mother wrote in a victim impact statement that losing her daughter was the hardest thing she's ever been through.
"I prayed for her to live, then I had to pray for her to not suffer," Flanagan said, reading William's mother's words.
Flanagan told the court Gordon had spoken with a psychiatrist, who admitted he was likely to reoffend, but with proper supervision over a long period of time, there was a reasonable probability of rehabilitation.
Judge Hope Hyslop also sentenced Gordon to three months in prison for an assault on his girlfriend that happened before the manslaughter and arson. Court heard police weren't aware of the incident until his girlfriend provided a statement to police regarding William's death. She told police Gordon had punched her in the back of the head so hard he fractured either his wrist or hand. Gordon pleaded guilty to that charge.
"It's important for the court to clearly denounce the conduct of Mr. Gordon," Flanagan said.
Along with the 10-year supervision order, Gordon has been banned from owning weapons for the rest of his life and will have to provide a sample of his DNA for the national database.
Hyslop said the sentence would be incomplete without a period of supervision.
"This is the most important aspect of this sentence," she said. "This was a tragedy for Ms. William and the members of her family."
For more of our coverage on this trial, go here.
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