YEAR IN REVIEW: Major crimes of 2016 - InfoNews

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YEAR IN REVIEW: Major crimes of 2016

December 31, 2016 - 4:30 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - One of our goals as a news outlet is to understand crime, whether it's on the ground for breaking news or in court covering weeks of trial, iNFOnews wants residents to be informed.

Here are just some of the major crimes that happened in the Thompson-Okanagan over the past 12 months.

KELOWNA

Although the trial for Kelowna’s most notorious crime, the drive by murder of gangster Jonathan Bacon, was delayed until 2017, there has been no shortage of major crimes in the Interior's largest city.

Kelowna’s first homicide came just two weeks into 2016, when police announced they were investigating the sudden death of a 22-year-old Summerland man whose body was found in a vehicle parked on Bear Creek Road.

Police first called the death of Tura McCarty suspicious, then a homicide, but have said nothing since. Supt. Nick Romanchuk said in a media release it was not a random attack, but gave no further explanation.

Kelowna RCMP blocked of a portion of Christleton Avenue, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015 after a targeted home invasion sent one man to hospital.
Kelowna RCMP blocked of a portion of Christleton Avenue, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015 after a targeted home invasion sent one man to hospital.
Image Credit: Global Okanagan (with permission)

There were several home invasions in Kelowna and West Kelowna in 2016, including one on Christleton Avenue on Boxing Day, 2015. Jarred Burrow, 34, and Parker Burrow, 24, originally from Alberta but living in Kelowna, are facing charges of possession of a loaded firearm, use of a firearm to commit an indictable offence, break and enter to a dwelling, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, uttering threats and possession of a firearm. Police say the two men entered a house around 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 26, 2015, through an unlocked door. Const. Jesse O'Donaghey said at a media conference last year the suspects knew who they were looking for and once inside, used a gun to prevent the 29-year-old Kelowna man and 27-year-old Kelowna woman from leaving.

Less than a week after Tura McCarty’s murder, a man was sent to hospital after an altercation outside the Cactus Club on Banks Road.

The victim, a 30-year-old Ontario man, was unconscious when officers arrived and later died from his injuries. Cory Richard Eric Van Gilder, 26, has been charged with manslaughter and will appear in court next year.

Cory Richard Eric Van Gilder, 26, pictured this photo, has been charged with manslaughter after he and Zachary Gaudette, 30, got into what police call an “altercation” outside the restaurant at around 9 p.m. Feb. 17. Gaudette was taken to hospital in serious condition and succumbed to his injuries two days later.
Cory Richard Eric Van Gilder, 26, pictured this photo, has been charged with manslaughter after he and Zachary Gaudette, 30, got into what police call an “altercation” outside the restaurant at around 9 p.m. Feb. 17. Gaudette was taken to hospital in serious condition and succumbed to his injuries two days later.
Image Credit: topmmanews.com

Only weeks later, the bodies of Kimberley Ansell, 31, and Marcello Verna, 20, were found off the side of the road in a small patch of trees on Shannon Way near Westville Way at around 7 a.m. March 2. West Kelowna RCMP first called the deaths "sudden" and a carefully worded release led to speculation by local media that it was a murder-suicide. One source, who must remain anonymous, says if they were in a relationship, Verna wasn’t Ansell’s only boyfriend.

Later that month Kelowna RCMP announced the death of a woman found in a suspicious house fire November 2015 was in fact a homicide. The body of Hazel Delgado Budiongan, 37, was found inside and the case remains unsolved.

One of Kelowna’s most unsettling crimes was resolved when Tyler Jack Newton was sentenced to seven years in prison for killing a man in an unprovoked and brutal attack on a Kelowna transit bus in 2014. Newton, 25, was initially charged with second degree murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter for killing 57-year-old Caesar Rosales by stabbing him in the neck from behind on a crowded bus the evening of Oct. 30, 2014. He fled the scene but was arrested the next day.

The month of August kicked off with a pair of violent crimes that remain unsolved.

The first happened at 10:14 p.m., Aug. 2, on Hudson Road near Highway 97 and involved a 48-year-old West Kelowna man police say was meeting with a man on a bicycle. According to a media release, the cyclist pulled out a gun and fired several rounds into the victim’s BMW before the driver hit the suspect with his car as he tried to flee.

A police service dog found the injured man, believed to be the driver, in a ditch not far from the accident scene. A source with knowledge told iNFOnews the shooting was gang related.

Three days later RCMP were called to the 400 block of Hein Road just after 6 a.m., Aug. 5, for a report of shots fired. When emergency crews arrived on the scene they found a 35-year-old Kelowna man deceased inside one of the units in the fourplex. Police are now calling it a targeted homicide.

Police at a residence on Hein Road in Rutland Aug. 5, 2016.
Police at a residence on Hein Road in Rutland Aug. 5, 2016.

On Oct. 21 the man who admitted he killed his ex-fiance in her Hiawatha mobile home in 2014 was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Ryan James Quigley, 37, was initially charged with second degree murder for stabbing Aimee Parkes 26 times on March 31, 2014. Her body was found the next day when she failed to turn up for work and Quigley was found sleeping in an SUV in downtown Kelowna April 4 that same year. She had been stabbed in the body, neck, face and head. He underwent weeks of trial for second degree murder before Justice Alison Beames accepted a surprise joint submission this week that included a guilty plea to the charge of manslaughter in Kelowna Supreme Court. During final submissions, Crown prosecutor Colin Forsyth said Quigley was high on crack cocaine when he killed Parkes following an argument about him leaving the mobile home they shared on Lakeshore Road.

KAMLOOPS

The Tournament Capital also saw its share of major crimes and resolutions to others this year.

In July, Christopher Frank Butler, 42, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for the violent killing of his ex-girlfriend, who he believed was possessed by a demon. While Butler struggled with mental health issues for years, he was denied a defence of not criminally responsible due to mental disorder.

In August, Courtney Fawn Saul admitted to killing her newborn son. Saul was originally charged with infanticide and interference with a dead body, but those charges were stayed in 2012, about six months after the death of her son George Carlos Saul. The charges were upgraded to second degree murder, but downgraded again to infanticide in July, which is why she served no jail time.  

A video from a vigilante group has alleged this man initiated a relationship with someone identifying themselves as an underage girl.
A video from a vigilante group has alleged this man initiated a relationship with someone identifying themselves as an underage girl.
Image Credit: creepcatchers.com

Police weren't the only ones making headlines for crime fighting; a Kamloops sheriff was charged for allegedly trying to engage in a relationship with an underage girl this year.

He was outed by a vigilante group from the Okanagan that claimed Johnston contacted the creator of a Craigslist ad who claimed to be 14 years old. The ad was fiction, created by a group that tries to lure and then expose people who agree to meet with young girls, often for what appears to be sexual in nature. The Okanagan cell call themselves Creep Hunters, once a part of Creep Catchers, a large and growing network of volunteers in cities across Canada. They have no affiliation with law enforcement. The RCMP does not condone them.

In October, Jordan Larry Barnes, 29, pleaded guilty in Kamloops Supreme Court to second degree murder in the death of Nicholas Larsen. Barnes admitted to a 2011 drive-by shooting on Blind Bay Road, about 20 kilometres from Salmon Arm, on June 1, 2011. RCMP had previously said Larsen was shot several times and ended up dying at a nearby friend's house. Barnes was arrested in Kelowna on June 13, 2014 and his co-accused in the case, Jeremy Wayne Davis, was arrested the day before in Williams Lake.

In March, Eric Bradley Charlie, 32, was arrested by Kamloops RCMP shortly after 8 a.m. and charged with second degree murder in the death of John Southwell, 30. Police became involved after Southwell was seriously assaulted outside the Hatsuki Sushi restaurant in Kamloops’ North Shore on Jan. 22 and later died.

In June, Shane Takeshi Gyoba was found guilty of second degree murder for killing his uncle in June 2014. Police were called when neighbours saw Shane digging a hole in the backyard. When police arrived, they found Shane burying his uncle after having killed him with a blow to the head from a shovel. 

Shane Takeshi Gyoba is accused of murdering his uncle in the backyard of the Ashcroft home the two shared on June 2, 2014.
Shane Takeshi Gyoba is accused of murdering his uncle in the backyard of the Ashcroft home the two shared on June 2, 2014.
Image Credit: Facebook

In one of the most shocking cases of the year, Kristopher Teichrieb, 39, was charged with attempted murder after allegedly beating an 18-year-old Kamloops man with a baseball bat. The teen remains in hospital in a coma.

VERNON

Vernon was home to many crimes you may expect as well as several bizarre crimes.

William Murray Phelps Munton, 55, a former North Okanagan-Shuswap School District teacher, already charged with arson, faced a lot more charges. In October, he was charged with arson in more than a dozen more fires in Vernon. He was also charged with one count of possession of child pornography and two counts of publishing child pornography in connection with offences alleged to have occurred in 2011 and 2015. His trial starts in 2017.

In June, convicted killer Matthew Foerster appealed his first degree murder conviction in the death of Armstrong teen Taylor Van Diest on grounds that legal mistakes were made in his trial. The appeal hearing, which comes two years after Foerster was found guilty, was held in Vancouver but live-streamed to the courthouse in Vernon where Van Diest’s family watched the proceedings. A decision is expected early in the new year.

In September, a jury found Howard Everett Krewson, 57, guilty of second degree murder last week for shooting his girlfriend, Linda Marie Stewart back in June 2014. Stewart, who also went by the last name of Ross, was a teacher at School District 22’s Alternate Learning School.

Howard Everett Krewson leaves the Vernon courthouse in handcuffs following the guilty verdict.
Howard Everett Krewson leaves the Vernon courthouse in handcuffs following the guilty verdict.

Oen of the more bizarre stories from the last year involves a Vernon man who punched through a car window and stabbed the driver with a knife — all in an attempt to rescue his girlfriend who was just run over pinned under the driver's car.

PENTICTON

The trial of a brother and sister from Penticton— co-accused in the 2015 murder of Roxanne Louie — was moved to Kelowna in 2016.

Grace Robotti, 67, and Pier Robotti, 62, are accused of killing Louie, 26, in Grace Robotti’s Penticton home on or around Jan. 4, 2015 and disposing of her body on a forest road above Naramata. Trial is expected in early 2017.

In April, a Princeton man avoided trial on a charge of attempted murder of his former wife despite the fact he stabbed her eleven times at a Princeton fast food parking lot two years ago. Crown accepted a guilty plea to aggravated assault by James R. Buhler, 54, and sought a sentence of six to eight years in prison.

Buhler was also charged with aggravated assault of his daughter who was seriously injured trying to stop Buhler from stabbing her mother.

In June, Scott Andrew Mcarthur pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for nearly five-and-a-half years following sentencing for kidnapping and use of an imitation firearm in Penticton court.

For a change of pace, check out iNFOnews' most Heartwarming Stories from 2016.


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