A 26-year-old First man will spend another three years and four months in prison for manslaughter.
Kyle Gilpin, was sentenced to a total of six-and-a-half years of imprisonment, but because of already being in custody on the matter for 765 days, he will be credited three years and two months.
Gilpin was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury in the death of his stepfather Douglas Alexis, 36, at Tsideldel First Nation on Oct. 19, 2018. Alexis died from from a gunshot to the head while he was sleeping in his bed.
After being arrested on Oct. 20, 2018, Gilpin was charged with second degree murder and obstruction of justice.
The jury trial was held in August and September 2021, followed by a sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 23.
He was sentenced on Wednesday, March 8 in B.C. Supreme Court, appearing by video in Williams Lake from Prince George Correctional Centre.
Members of the victim’s family sat in the courtroom as well as Gilpin’s mother and her supporter, while due to COVID-19 restricting numbers other members of the victim’s family watched from a separate courtroom through a video screen.
Before she imposed her sentence Justice Marguerite Church outlined aggravating and mitigating factors in the case.
The aggravating factors Justice Church listed included that Alexis was in a step-parent relationship with Gilpin at the time of the incident.
Another factor was that Gilpin used a .308 calibre rifle for the shooting.
“There was some degree of deliberation that the led to the unlawful act,” Justice Church said, noting Gilpin left and returned with the rifle and fired three shots in the direction of the bed where Alexis was sleeping, but “did not intend to kill, as he was too intoxicated.”
Alexis was “seriously” impaired and unable to protect himself.
After the shooting, Alexis’s body was dragged and discarded in a ravine. There were also attempts to dispose of blood-stained evidence.
Mitigating circumstances Justice Church cited included the accused had no prior criminal record, he was and is a young man, he has undertaken available programs, completing his Grade 12 while in custody, and taken positive steps to address his alcoholism and maintain sobriety.
“Although he was found guilty after the trial, he was prepared to plead guilty for manslaughter while Crown did not accept the plea.”
Referring to both the Gladeau Report and psychological assessment submitted as evidence, Justice Church described how growing up Gilpin was exposed to alcoholism, violence, minimal support and intermittent opportunities to connect with his Indigenous culture.
He began using drugs and alcohol at the age of 14 and drank to cope with anxiety. He is an admitted alcoholic.
His parents separated when he was 15 and his mom and Alexis began a relationship a year later. He killed his step-father when he was 23, and is a father and step-father himself.
The reports also suggested Gilpin was assaulted by Alexis at various times, but in another report Gilpin said he and Alexis “got along and worked together,” although Gilpin’s father and mother of Alexis both said there were prior physical altercations between the two men.
She said in his own words, Gilpin said he regretted his actions and they were out of character for him.
“He also said it was difficult to see and hear his mother give testimony through the trial.”
During the sentencing hearing on Feb. 23, 2022, Crown read out several impact statements from the family and Chief Lynda Price of the Ulkatcho First Nation, Alexis’s home community.
All of the impact statements spoke of profound loss and overwhelming grief of a son, brother, father, nephew and uncle, Church said before the sentencing.
Chief Price noted Alexis supported Ulkatcho by teaching fencing and horsemanship, even though he lived at Tsideldel.
In addition to his prison sentence, Gilpin will be prohibited from possessing a firearm for 10 years following release and possession of any prohibited firearm, crossbrow, ammunition or explosive substance for life.
Samples for the DNA national data bank will be taken from him and while in custody he is to have no contact with the victim’s family members.
“Good luck Mr. Gilpin,” Church said in closing.
Outside the courthouse, the victim’s family declined comment.