KAMLOOPS - After spending four-and-a-half years in pre-trial custody, a man convicted of murdering his romantic rival when he was a teenager has finally learned his fate.
The gunman behind the November 2008 slaying of 22-year-old Tyler Myers has been sentenced as a youth by Kamloops Supreme Court judge Sheri Donegan.
He cannot be named due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, but today, May 31, he received a 10-year sentence for shooting and killing Myers behind a Salmon Arm elementary school more than eight years ago.
The gunman will have to spend six years in custody followed by four years of community supervision.
To sentence him as an adult, the Crown must prove he had the thought and foresight of an adult when he committed the offence and in this case, the Crown didn’t do that.
An adult sentence would have carried with it a life sentence, with no possibility of parole for at least 10 years, which is what the Crown asked for. But, if the offender was sentenced as an adult, his pre-trial custody time would have counted toward those 10 years. He likely would have spent an additional five-and-a-half years in prison, as opposed to the six years he faces now.
The now 25-year-old gunman had been in a relationship with 17-year-old Monica Sikorski in 2008, but didn't learn until months into their relationship that she was also dating Myers.
Sikorski and the gunman ultimately came up with what Donegan calls a somewhat impulsive plan to kill Myers. It was impulsive in the sense that they committed the murder hours after coming up with the plan.
Myers was shot and killed by the gunman in November 2008, after being lured to a wooded area near a Salmon Arm elementary school by Sikorski. She pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case and was sentenced as an adult to life in prison with no eligibility of parole for seven years.
Donegan focused on several different areas when reading her decision in court today, including the impact the offence has had on the Myers family.
"My words cannot do justice to the eloquence of Mr. Myers' family and friends in communicating to me their enormous loss," Donegan said. "Tyler was a young man with his whole life in front of him."
Donegan said not only did the family have to deal with the loss of a loved one, they had to deal with the fact that he was murdered and that no arrests were made until four years later.
"Those left behind struggle, I know, to this day with the devestating emotional impacts of this crime," she said. "Any sentence at all would be insufficient to address the emotional impacts that you have suffered."
The gunman's mother spoke to reporters after Donegan made her decision, saying it never crossed her mind to not be supportive of her son throughout the process.
"He's my son, he's my baby," she said. "I think the judge made the right decision... He did a bad thing but he's not a bad person."
Crown prosecutor Bill Hilderman said he couldn't comment on whether or not Crown will appeal the sentence, but praised Donegan for her "well-reasoned" and careful decision.
The gunman must spend an additional six years in custody, as his pre-trial custody time is not being given credit. Donegan said by the time the gunman has finished serving his community supervision portion of his sentence, he will have been "deprived of his liberty" for nearly 15 years.
She also pointed out how the gunman has attempted to better himself since he's been in custody, by completing programs, university courses and obtaining a job in prison.
"It is now up to you to continue on the path that you've started," Donegan told the offender.
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