An Indigenous man found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of his stepfather at Tsideldel First Nation in October 2018 will be sentenced on Tuesday, March 8.
Kyle Gilpin, now 26, remains in custody at Prince George Regional Correction Centre, where he has been since a 12-member jury delivered its verdict on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 following a four-and-half-week trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Williams Lake.
Originally Gilpin faced one count of second degree murder and one count of attempting to obstruct justice and uttering threats.
A sentencing hearing in the matter was held on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, in Williams Lake B.C. Supreme Court.
Why the jury found Gilpin guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, and any possible motive for the crime was not reviewed or discussed at the sentencing hearing. Those details may be recapped upon sentencing March 8.
During the hearing, Crown counsel John Hempstead outlined a number of aggravating circumstances in the case.
He said the cause of death was a gun shot from a Winchester model three-way caliber rifle, normally used for game hunting.
Gilpin shot the rifle three times into the master bedroom in a close and confined area where the victim was in bed.
“This was not a case of random shots fired in frustration,” Hempstead said. “The victim, himself seriously impaired, in the Crown’s submission, would not be in any position to react in any fashion.”
The facts put the case in the ‘near murder’ classification for manslaughter, he noted.
Defense counsel Alfred Kaiser also shared details about the case, but disagreed with Hempstead’s submission.
“The jury accepted that Mr. Gilpin was impaired to a significant degree and did not have intent to kill,” he said. “In my submission this is probably in the middle of the scale but closer to accidental than murder.”
Kaiser also outlined efforts Gilpin has made to complete programs while in custody and achieve sobriety.
“Mr. Gilpin took this very seriously at the outset that there was a problem with alcohol and drugs in his life that led to this,” Kaiser said, noting his client was prepared to plead guilty to manslaughter, not for murder.
Crown and defense both agreed Gilpin should receive a jail sentence, followed by probation with prohibitions.
Crown requested nine years in custody while defense suggested between three and five years.
The court also heard as of Feb. 23, 2022, Gilpin has already spent 751 days in custody over the matter, which would equal 1,025 days time-served toward his sentence.
Justice Marguerite Church adjourned the matter saying she would need more time to impose sentence, adding she had “a lot to think about” and wanted to carefully review everything.
When asked by Justice Church if he wanted to make any comments, Gilpin replied “no.”