Sentencing for convicted murderer adjourned due to Kamloops air quality | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Sentencing for convicted murderer adjourned due to Kamloops air quality

Lawyers for convicted killer Jeffery Harris have respiratory issues and couldn't travel to Kamloops for sentencing because of poor air quality due to woodsmoke in the area.
August 09, 2017 - 10:49 AM

KAMLOOPS - A Lillooet man will have to wait at least a couple of weeks before he learns his fate after being convicted of murdering his drug dealer.

Defence lawyer Donna Turko filed an adjournment application over the phone in Kamloops Supreme Court today, Aug. 9, saying both she and co-counsel Talia Magder suffer from respiratory issues.

Turko told the court Magder was ordered by her doctor to not travel to Kamloops due to the city's poor air quality.

Crown prosecutor Chris Balison consented to the application, along with Supreme Court judge Stephen Kelleher.

"There's every reason for anybody with any kind of respiratory issue to avoid Kamloops," Kelleher said.

Kamloops' air quality health index is currently at a 7 today, which falls into the high health risk category. Thick smoke from nearby wildfires still blankets the city's sky.

Lawyers are expected to meet next week to set a new date for Jeffery Harris's sentencing hearing.

Harris was found guilty earlier this year of the second-degree murder of 61-year-old Gary Mandseth. A jury deliberated for less than three hours before coming to a guilty verdict.

A second-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence with no parole eligibility for at least 10 years and no more than 25 years. Both Crown and defence have yet to disclose how many years of parole ineligibility they are seeking in the case.

Mandseth died on Feb. 10, 2015 after getting into an altercation with Harris. He suffered several stab wounds, but the fatal wound was likely a stab to his heart.

Turko argued during a two-week trial that Harris was in a state of automatism, meaning his mind disassociated from his body during the period in which he killed Mandseth.

She said this happened after Mandseth injected Harris with cocaine, a drug he wasn't used to using intravenously.

For more coverage on this trial, go here.

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