Teen gets 5 years for killing man - Nova Scotia News - TheChronicleHerald.ca (external - login to view)
One minute they were arguing about how long it takes to cook a Pizza Pop in a microwave oven, and the next they were swinging at each other with knives.
A Halifax teen has been sentenced to five years behind bars for stabbing a man to death at a housewarming party last spring.
Brandon John Anderson, 18, was sentenced Monday in Halifax youth court after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of Paul Saunders, 21.
"There is nothing the court can do to turn back the hands of time and bring a life back into being," Judge Pam Williams said.
"We’re left with the consequences of this shockingly pointless episode."
Mr. Anderson had been scheduled to go on trial Monday for second-degree murder in connection with the April 5 stabbing at a Cowie Hill Road apartment building in Halifax.
Mr. Saunders was stabbed once in the chest and twice in the back and died in an ambulance en route to hospital.
The defence did not oppose the Crown’s application to have Mr. Anderson, who was 17 at the time of the crime, sentenced as an adult.
Judge Williams accepted the lawyers’ joint recommendation and imposed an adult sentence of five years, minus a year’s credit for remand time.
Mr. Anderson will be allowed to serve his sentence at the Nova Scotia Youth Facility in Waterville until he turns 20 in October 2010, at which time he’ll be transferred to a federal prison.
Nobody from the victim’s family was in court for Monday’s sentencing.
Crown attorney Jennifer MacLellan told the court that Mr. Saunders’s aunt had planned on attending but had to stay home to babysit after school was cancelled for the day.
Mr. Saunders had just moved to Halifax from Quebec and was looking forward to starting a job at a Sobeys grocery store, Ms. MacLellan said.
The prosecutor said Mr. Saunders’s death was a "terrible tragedy" for his family, who are saddened that his one-year-old daughter in Quebec will never get to know her father.
Mr. Anderson was bound by two probation orders at the time of the stabbing, Ms. MacLellan said, and has 21 prior convictions.
Given the opportunity to address the court before he was sentenced, Mr. Anderson said he wanted to apologize to Mr. Saunders’s family.
"I’m just sorry for everything that happened," he said. "It was a mistake."
"If it was the other way around, I know my family would be devastated. I feel their pain."
"If I could go back in time, I would. It’s just like a bad dream."
21 previous convictions? He should have been given more then just 5 years if that's the case, idiot kid or not..... how the hell does a kid get to live free and have the ability to stab and kill someone after having 21 prior convictions and being under 2 prob. bonds?
After the 5th damn conviction I would have toss his *** in jail.
According to the agreed statement of facts read into the court record, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Saunders were among several people attending a party in Apt. 309 at 41 Cowie Hill Rd. The tenants of the apartment were Justin Publicover and Aaron Skidmore.Quote has been trimmed
The party was loud and boisterous and there were several arguments. Sometime between 3:30 and 4 a.m., Mr. Saunders and Mr. Anderson, who had both been drinking, got into an altercation.
Mr. Anderson stabbed Mr. Saunders at least once inside the apartment. Mr. Saunders, while holding a knife, then chased Mr. Anderson from the apartment and down the hallway to the third-floor elevator foyer.
As Mr. Publicover and Mr. Skidmore struggled to get the situation under control, all four young men ended up in an elevator going from the third floor to the 10th floor. Just as the elevator doors opened, Mr. Anderson reached over and stabbed Mr. Saunders, who collapsed in the 10th-floor foyer.
Mr. Anderson ran down the stairwell to Apt. 309, warned two girls there not to talk to police and left the apartment. He phoned his mother, who picked him up somewhere else.
Friggin scum around here make me sick. (Mind you, not everybody is scum, but those around here who are scum, I have no sympathy for them)
Meanwhile, Mr. Publicover and Mr. Skidmore moved Mr. Saunders, who was bleeding heavily, to the lobby on the ground floor. Mr Saunders was taken away in an ambulance but died before paramedics could get him to the hospital.
Mr. Anderson was arrested without incident at his Williams Lake Road home the next day and has remained in custody.
The statement of facts doesn’t say whether Mr. Anderson was carrying a knife when he arrived at the party that night or grabbed one in the kitchen of the apartment.
Outside court, Ms. MacLellan said she couldn’t comment on the origin of the knife.
"It would be hard to describe this incident as anything but unfortunate," defence lawyer Stan MacDonald said in his submissions. "A dispute over something as benign as a Pizza Pop escalated into something that spiralled out of control."
"At various points, both Brandon and Mr. Saunders were armed with knives. It wasn’t a one-way street. Unfortunately, it resulted in the untimely death of Mr. Saunders."
Mr. MacDonald said his client is an intelligent young man with "real potential to do well in the future."
Mr. Anderson’s supervisor in Waterville described the teen as low-key, quiet and respectful, while a teacher at the facility said he is highly motivated to learn, presents no difficulties in class and has made steady progress.
The superintendent of the youth facility told Mr. MacDonald that Mr. Anderson is welcome to stay there until his 20th birthday, provided he doesn’t pose a threat to others.
In return for Mr. Anderson pleading guilty to manslaughter, the Crown offered no evidence on eight other charges, including uttering threats, intimidating witnesses and breaching probation.
As Mr. Anderson left court, he told his family: "I love you, OK? I’ll call you tonight."