A man charged in the fatal beating of hockey mom Julie Paskall, whose death in Surrey, B.C., crystallized fears about the area being unsafe, pleaded guilty Friday and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
With credit for time already served, Yosef Jomo Gopaul has 10½ years remaining in his sentence.
Mr. Gopaul, 28, was initially charged with second-degree murder but he pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and one count of robbery. The 12-year sentence was the result of a joint recommendation from the Crown and the defence.
Ms. Paskall, 53, had been waiting to pick up her son from the Newton Arena following a hockey game on Dec. 29, 2013, when she was attacked. She died two days later in hospital.
In an emotional victim impact statement, Ms. Paskall’s husband, Al, said the two had met as teens and been best friends for nearly four decades.
“Every day with her was an adventure, and now my adventure is over,” he said through tears.
“Nothing matters any more.”
Ms. Paskall’s daughter Rhiannon told the court that she has cerebral palsy and that her mother had always been her biggest cheerleader.
“My mom was truly my best friend in the entire world,” she said, sobbing.
On Friday, the court heard that Mr. Gopaul had confessed to an undercover officer posing as a crime boss that he struck Ms. Paskall in the head with a rock. He claimed his intention was not to kill her, but to rob her.
He also confessed to a robbery that occured almost two weeks before the attack on Ms. Paskall. On Dec. 16, Mr. Gopaul struck a young Asian woman with a rock, beat her and then took her mobile phone and other belongings, the court heard.
An Edmonton man who fatally struck an elderly woman in a west-end crosswalk was convicted Monday of impaired driving causing death.
Sivakumar Devarajah, 55, was also found guilty of driving over .08 causing death in connection with the Feb. 4, 2013, collision that killed Agnes Morgan, 77.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donald Manderscheid ruled that Devarajah’s driving was “negligent and faulty” and said his impairment by alcohol at the time was a “significant” cause of the deadly collision.
Manderscheid rejected Devarajah’s claim that the blinding sun had blocked his view of Morgan as she began walking through the crosswalk, saying others were able to see the senior and noting he had failed to lower his visor.
Crown prosecutor Kim Goddard told court she would be seeking a sentence of four to five years in prison.
Court has heard Devarajah was in a Ford F-150 pickup truck stopped at a red light on 110 Avenue at the intersection of 156 Street and waiting to turn left to go south.
WINNIPEG — Experts are recommending a man who beheaded a fellow passenger aboard a Greyhound bus should be transferred from a mental facility to a Winnipeg hospital with an eye to moving him to a community group home.
It’s also being suggested that Vince Li be granted unescorted outings in the city.
Li’s psychiatrist, Dr. Steven Kremer, told a criminal code board review hearing Monday that Li has shown “profound improvement” and is at low risk to reoffend. Risk assessments done by several other doctors came to the same conclusion, the board heard.
Li, 46, has not had any hallucinations in over a year and understands the need to take his medication, Kremer said. Should Li be transferred to a group home, staff there would ensure he continued the medication necessary to manage his schizophrenia, the doctor said.
“His likelihood to re-engage in violence is low.”
Li has been confined to a psychiatric institution north of Winnipeg since he was found not criminally responsible for stabbing, mutilating and beheading McLean on a bus to Winnipeg in July 2008. Li sat next to the 22-year-old McLean after the young man smiled at him and asked how he was doing.
Li said he heard the voice of God telling him to kill the young carnival worker or “die immediately.” Li repeatedly stabbed McLean who unsuccessfully fought for his life. As passengers fled the bus, Li continued stabbing and mutilating the body before he was arrested.
The review board has gradually given Li more freedom, including unescorted visits to Selkirk, Man., and escorted visits to Winnipeg and local beaches.
Li entered the hearing Monday unshackled, sitting and listening quietly while his case was discussed.
The board is expected to issue a decision within a week.
Ken Mackenzie, manager of the forensic mental health program at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, told the hearing Li has experienced some public backlash on unescorted outings, but was “able to manage it quite effectively.”
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OTTAWA - The man who shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial in Ottawa before being gunned down in Parliament’s Centre Block was not one of the 90 radicalized Canadians on an RCMP watchlist, Mounties revealed Thursday.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, “was an individual who may have had extremist beliefs.”
His e-mail was found on a hard drive belonging to someone who’s been arrested for terror-related activities.
Born in Montreal, he later lived in Calgary and Vancouver, then went to Ottawa on Oct. 2 to deal with an issue regarding his passport application, Paulson said. Police believe he was hoping to travel to Syria from Ottawa.
Cirillo was standing guard at the National War Memorial when witnesses say he was shot at point-blank range. An assailant was later killed.
At least 30 shots are fired inside the main building of Canada’s Parliament Hill, after a gunman shot and killed a soldier at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa.
OTTAWA — The Canadian soldier who was shot and killed as he stood guard on a bright and chilly morning at the National War Memorial is identified as Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo, family and military sources say.
A Parliament Hill security guard was wounded in the chaotic attack Wednesday just before 10 a.m. in the nation’s capital that police believe involved more than one assailant.
Cirillo, of Hamilton, was one of two Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada reservists standing guard in front of the monument when a gunman opened fire Wednesday morning. The shooter was killed inside the Parliament buildings after firing at least 20 shots.
Ottawa police would not confirm a CBS News report that has identified the dead shooter as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. A high-ranking federal officer confirmed his identity to The Canadian Press. He was born in 1982 and is believed to be Canadian, the American news outlet reported, quoting U.S. officials.
TORONTO - A man who snuck into an unlocked home, abducted a four-year-old girl from her bed and sexually assaulted her on Boxing Day 2011, was found guilty of all charges Thursday.
Ryan Belbin — who had no prior criminal convictions — snatched the sleeping girl at 3 a.m., stripped her naked and was “hunkering over” the child in a North York backyard when the panicked victim’s father discovered the horrifying sight, Justice Nola Garton said in a written judgment.
Belbin, 30, will be sentenced for breaking and entering, abduction of a minor, sexual assault and sexual interference on Nov. 27.
Garton found that the alternative suspects suggested by defence lawyer Jennifer Penman — the victim’s father and another neighbour — weren’t the culprits and Crown attorney Sheila Cressman proved Belbin was the offender.
The judge found that Belbin stopped his attack when the victim’s father screamed. Belbin then sprinted eastbound in the Bathurst-Wilson area.
The hysterical father cradled his child in his arms and returned to his parents’ home — where the family was visiting from Connecticut.
Belbin’s DNA was found on the victim’s pyjamas but it couldn’t be determined what “particular bodily fluid was the source,” said Garton.
Penman argued that Belbin’s DNA — either from spit or urine on the ground — could have been innocently transferred on to the clothing during the assault.
Belbin, who lived in close proximity to the victim’s relatives, delivered newspapers in the area until two weeks before the incident.
4-year-old sexual assault victim released from hospital
Published 1 hour 16 minutes ago
A 4-year-old girl abducted from a north Toronto home and sexually assaulted was released from hospital on Tuesday.
The girl, who was visiting with family from Connecticut, was abducted early Monday morning from her grandparents’ home on Charleswood Dr., near Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave. While police released few details on the kidnapping or assault, a woman who identified herself as the girl’s grandmother said the ordeal “had a happy ending,” referring to her granddaughter’s discharge from hospital.
“By the grace of God,” she said, standing inside her doorway Tuesday morning.
As a cold rain drizzled outside, neighbours visited the house, which belongs to an orthodox Jewish family.
Police said a man grabbed the girl between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Monday. Family discovered the girl a short distance from the house “within minutes of the abduction and saw a man fleeing the scene,” police said.
Police did not confirm a sexual assault occurred until Monday evening.
The suspect is described as a white man, 19 or 20 years old, with an average build, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-10. He was last seen wearing a blue jacket or sweatshirt, dark sweatpants or jeans and striped, bluish toque.