UPDATE: Vernon man admits to manslaughter in 2015 Polson Park case - InfoNews

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UPDATE: Vernon man admits to manslaughter in 2015 Polson Park case

Tal Kalum La Riviere
Image Credit: File photo
October 23, 2017 - 12:44 PM

"WE WANT HELP FOR THEM. WE KNOW WHAT JASON WENT THROUGH IN HIS OWN LIFE"

VERNON - A 30-year-old Vernon man with a lengthy criminal record admitted to manslaughter today in the fatal 2015 beating of Jason Hardy.

Tal Kalum La Riviere and Hardy, 42, not only knew each other, but were friends, court heard today during the accused’s sentence hearing, in which he was given a five-year jail term. La Riviere was initially charged with second degree murder but agreed to plead guilty if the charge was reduced to manslaughter. Two other individuals who were 14 and 18 at the time of the offence, were also accused of second degree murder until those charges were dropped by the Crown in 2016.

Provincial Court Judge Mayland McKimm said La Riviere and Hardy were both “lost in the world of drug addiction” in August of 2015. On the night in question, they’d been using Hardy’s bank card to withdraw money to buy drugs. They were at a skateboard park, along with two other people, when a disagreement broke out over the use of Hardy’s bank card, McKimm said. La Riviere hit Hardy a number of times. The other two people also administered blows.

Hardy had an advanced liver disease, which left him particularly vulnerable to the beating. He died of head injuries.

Jason's father John Hardy and step-mom Connie Allard speak to reporters Oct. 23, 2017.
Jason's father John Hardy and step-mom Connie Allard speak to reporters Oct. 23, 2017.

McKimm said La Riviere didn’t intend to kill Hardy and noted the assault was provoked.

La Riviere has multiple convictions related to assaults, break and enter, trespassing and theft dating back to 2005. He was moved around numerous foster homes as a child and became addicted to drugs as a teen, McKimm said.

Because La Riviere has already spent about three years in custody, he will only have two more years of new time.

Jason Hardy, pictured here in a photo from his obituary, was found dead in Polson Park Aug. 26, 2015.
Jason Hardy, pictured here in a photo from his obituary, was found dead in Polson Park Aug. 26, 2015.
Image Credit: Elliot-Madill Funeral Homes

Hardy’s family attended the sentence hearing and described him as a kind, loving man who was trying to turn his life around.

“He trusted everyone,” his step-mom Connie Allard said after the hearing. “He truly never saw evil in a person.”

She said the family was hoping for a longer jail sentence, but are happy that La Riviere admitted to manslaughter.

When asked about the two teens initially charged in connection with the killing, Allard said she sympathizes for them.

“We don’t feel that they killed Jason. We don’t feel that. How can you say ‘I want a 14 and a 17-year-old with the issues that they have…’ we don’t. We want help for them. We know what Jason went through with his own life, OK? And we would like to see help for them.”

Charges were dropped against the teens because the Crown did not think there was sufficient evidence against them to prosecute the case.

Jason Hardy pictured with his nephew Jamie Honsberger.
Jason Hardy pictured with his nephew Jamie Honsberger.
Image Credit: Connie Allard

— This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 23, 2017 to add reactions from family members. 


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