Repeat offender gets five years in jail for stabbing at Kamloops dry cleaner | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Repeat offender gets five years in jail for stabbing at Kamloops dry cleaner

A repeat Kamloops offender has been handed a five-year jail sentence for a robbery and stabbing at a local dry cleaning business.

Tristan Bris Fernandez pleaded guilty, May 17, nearly three years after the violent robbery that left a woman with lifelong injuries.

On June 8, 2021, he and co-accused Douglas Tresierra went to the Summit Drive McCleaners location. While Tresierra waited outside in a stolen truck around 7 a.m., Fernandez went inside wearing a medical mask to cover his face, Crown prosecutor MatthewBlow said.

The woman inside, Glenda Thompson, was the only employee there, just preparing to open for the day. She told Fernandez the store was still closed and asked him to leave.

He demanded money and told Thompson to open the cash register. She couldn't.

Blow said the exchange was "terrifying" for Thompson. She tried explaining to Fernandez, who was wielding a carving knife, that only a manager could open the register.

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Apparently forced to accept he could not get the cash, he took several of her belongings instead, including a laptop and her phone, but not before stabbing her in the abdomen. Fernandez also cut her in the thigh and the arm. The latter was so bad it severed nerves and left her with numbness from the elbow to the wrist.

Police were alerted by the building's alarm system, but Fernandez and Tresierra fled before officers arrived.

They drove off in the stolen pickup, later abandoned it by Sahali Park. Each fled in different directions, but they first tried and failed to torch the truck by lighting a rag stuffed into the fuel tank.

Only Tresierra was arrested that day, while Fernandez would be arrested four months later following another crime.

Thompson would be taken to the hospital and not return to work for another three months. Along with the scars and the numbness, the robbery left her distrustful of other people, always "looking over her shoulder," and especially skeptical of people wearing medical masks in public, Blow said.

The sentence comes after more than two years spent in custody ahead of a judge's decision. He's been in custody since October 2021, but some of the time was attributed to other crimes sentenced before the McCleaner's robbery concluded in court.

He has less than 20 months remaining to spend in custody after accounting for pre-trial custody.

Tresierra, meanwhile, failed to appear for his trial last month and a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to online court records.

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The five-year sentence also included a 30-day concurrent sentence for breaking into a General Grant's recycling depot and trashing the inside. That was roughly three months before the violent McCleaner's robbery and nothing was stolen, but Blow said a hammer was found atop a safe and investigators believed he tried and failed to crack it open before fleeing.

The 27-year-old has been in and out of custody regularly since he was 14, including multiple assaults, thefts and probation breaches, according to Blow.

Fernandez's lawyer Jeremy Jensen told the court he had a difficult childhood, surrounded by drugs and violence from an early age. By four, he was put into the foster system and by his early teens he was regularly using drugs and alcohol. He's now been sober nearly three years due to his time behind bars, Jensen said.

"I'd like you to know i have a great deal of remorse for this crime," Fernandez told the court. It's not something I'm proud of and it's something I'm looking to moving on and try to better my life."

One of his most recent crimes, coming after the McCleaners robbery, includes a robbery at a local Lordco in August 2021, where he was one of three to be charged.

Fernandez was arrested two months later at a local motel, three days after the body of his co-accused was found burning near the Mission Flats landfill. Kamloops RCMP said the arrest was related to the robbery, not the homicide of Adam Hibbert, which remains unsolved.

Judge Ruth Armstrong stressed that Fernandez still has time to turn his life around, urging him to take advantage of counselling offered in custody.

"You've got work to do. You're young, you should be able to do it. "I know custody isn't the first place people think of when they think of trauma treatment, but I'm sure somebody there can help you find that because if you don't, you're just wallpapering over a big crack."

Fernandez pleaded guilty to the McCleaner's robbery and possession of the stolen getaway truck, along with mischief for the General Grant's break-in. Other charges were stayed, including one for aggravated assault and multiple probation breaches.

Once released, he will serve two years on probation.

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