KELOWNA – A Kelowna man awaiting trial for murder was sentenced to nine months in jail for a separate, unrelated string of thefts last year.
Steven Pirko, 24, is charged with second-degree murder of in the death of Chris Ausman on a Rutland sidewalk in 2014. He wasn’t arrested for the murder until November 2016 and police have said very little about the case.
Global Okanagan reported in January 2014 that Ausman was out late that Friday night playing poker two blocks from where he was found dead. Family suspect he was stabbed.
Prior to his arrest for murder, Pirko was caught on video surveillance June 26, 2016 breaking into a vehicle on Barber Road and stealing a bag. Officers recognized Pirko and a warrant was issued.
Less than a month later on July 6, Pirko and another man were again caught on camera breaking into a storage locker and stealing roughly $3,000 worth of property.
He was arrested in October and released on a promise to appear. He did not appear and was arrested and released two more times.
On October 24 police detained Pirko and found a bag containing someone else’s personal documents and a can of bear spray.
Despite a warrant being out for his arrest, he was again released.
On November 23 he was finally taken into custody and has been held in Okanagan Correctional Centre ever since.
Today, June 28, Judge Vincent Hogan took Pirko to task for his lengthy criminal record and three year addiction to heroin.
“Please son, you’re 24, turn this mess around,” he implored. “We want you to do well. Rehabilitation is the best protection for the community. You’re the only person who can turn this around.”
Pirko apologized and said the thefts were to pay for his addiction.
“I wouldn’t have done all these things if it wasn’t for heroin,” he said. “I’m trying to make the best of a crappy situation.”
Hogan sentenced Pirko to nine months in jail, which he has already served, but due to his murder charge he is ineligible for release.
His first appearance on the second-degree murder charge is scheduled for January 2018.
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