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UPDATE: Defence lawyer says teen who murdered Salmon Arm man was addicted to love

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January 23, 2017 - 5:01 PM

KAMLOOPS - A Salmon Arm man will soon learn if he will be sentenced as an adult, more than eight years after he shot and killed a romantic rival.

The man cannot be named because he was only 16 years old when he shot and killed 22-year-old Tyler Myers on the grounds of a Salmon Arm elementary school more than eight years ago.

He hung his head in court as lawyers re-told the facts of the case.

Crown prosecutors are arguing today, Jan. 23, in Kamloops Supreme Court, that the accused should be sentenced as an adult. A jury found the man guilty of first-degree murder in June 2016.

However, defence lawyer Donna Turko wants her client to be sentenced as a youth. She says her client, up until his arrest, was a productive and contributing member of society.

Turko says a youth sentence would allow for better prospects of rehabilitation, without "institutionalizing" the man which can happen when young offenders are incarcerated in a penitentiary. 

On Nov. 21, 2008, the man and his girlfriend at the time, Monica Sikorski, conspired to murder Myers. Sikorski pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year and although she was 17 at the time of the offence, Judge Sheri Donegan sentenced her as an adult.

Prior to the murder, Myers and the accused discovered Sikorski was having a sexual relationship with both of them. The two men even got into a physical confrontation at Sikorski's house less than two weeks before Myers was killed.

Sikorski and her 16-year-old lover exchanged text messages the day before the murder, Crown prosecutor Evan Goulet said, which detailed Sikorski trying to reassure the convict that Myers wouldn't hurt him. 

But the morning of the murder, Sikorski and the 16-year-old ditched school early, scoped out a wooded area behind the elementary school and borrowed a gun and car from friends.

"(Sikorski) had him believing she loved him and it was her and him against Tyler," Turko said. "There was certainly a manipulation going on."

Goulet told the court the convicted man parked the car at a nearby church, an area which he knew didn't have cameras. He then waited by a stump in the woods, rifle ready, for Sikorski to bring Myers there.

The convicted man fired once and Myers fell. Sikorski told the gunman to shoot Myers in the head, and he obliged. The accused then fired up to two more shots at Myers, before leaving with Sikorski to get Slurpees from 7-Eleven.

Turko says her client fell victim to the real mastermind behind the crime – Sikorski.

"Monica was the bigger, stronger person whom he was addicted to," Turko said.

Goulet says the couple went to lengths to cover their crime up, from tossing Myers' phone into the water, to denying any part in his murder when questioned by police.

In the days after the murder, Sikorski and her co-accused were questioned by police but denied any involvement. It wasn't until four years later, after an undercover police operation, that Sikorski and her co-accused were arrested.

Sikorski was the main target of the operation, court heard, but her co-accused eventually gave undercover officers information about his involvement.

The now 25-year-old man has been in custody since his arrest in November 2012.

"He was the shooter, he was involved with the planning, he attempted to deceive the police afterward," Goulet said. "This is the most serious offence. This is a planned and deliberate murder."

For the four years between the murder and his arrest, the convicted man travelled, worked and led a relatively normal life, court heard.

"He almost got away with murder," Goulet told the court.

Myers' family members filed victim impact statements to be read by Crown prosecutor Bill Hilderman, many of them detailing Myers' emotional turmoil following the death of his father in 2004.

But the man convicted of killing Myers has a steady flow of family support. His mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her son, took the stand in court this afternoon to read a letter of support on behalf of her family.

The man was always the smallest and youngest in his class, she said, constantly vying for love and attention. 

"We would like to apologize to Tyler Myers' family and friends," the 25-year-old's mother told the court through tears. "(My son) made a horrible mistake that night and he will pay for it for the rest of his life."

Lawyers are expected to wrap up sentencing submissions tomorrow morning, Jan. 24. If the convicted man is sentenced as an adult, his name will be made public.

– This story was updated at 4:47 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, to include more information from defence lawyer Donna Turko.


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