Crown wants young killer of London biker sentenced as adult – The London Free Press
There would be a far different debate about a Hamilton man’s second-degree murder sentence if he’d turned 18 before he gunned down Steve Sinclair.
If those had been the circumstances when he was a gun-for-hire in September 2015, he would have automatically faced a life sentence with a parole ineligibility of 10 to 25 years.
But while he has reached 18 and the age of adulthood under the law, the teenager was only 15 when he shot the 49-year-old London man outside an after-hours club.
Instead, the first of three days of a sentencing debate at the London courthouse Monday centred around whether he should be sentenced as a youth or an adult for killing Sinclair, a sheet metal worker, family man and member of the Gatekeepers motorcycle club.
Either way, the young man won’t be in custody much longer. If Superior Court Justice Mark Garson decides he will be sentenced under the youth justice provisions, the maximum term is seven years — four in secure custody and three more under community supervision.
As an adult, he would be sentenced to life with a maximum parole ineligibility of five to seven years because he committed the murder before he was 16. However, that sentence would keep the young man tethered to the corrections system for the rest of his life.
After a morning of debate over some potential Crown evidence, the proceeding is off and running with the Crown’s submissions. The Crown is seeking an adult sentence….
— Jane Sims (@JaneatLFPress) August 13, 2018
And, assistant Crown attorney James Spangenberg argued, there are reasons to make sure the teenager, whose identity remains protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is kept under supervision.
Sinclair died after he was shot in the heart from a bullet that passed through his arm, one of three shots fired into him by the teenager outside The Lounge after-hours club on Hamilton Road. Two other bullets hit him in the leg and shoulder.
The teenager, originally charged with first-degree murder but convicted by a jury of the lesser charge, testified at his trial he was already engaging in a high-risk lifestyle that included routinely selling drugs in Hamilton’s Hess Village.
He said he was he was hired by one of his drug customers, a man he only knew as “Migo.”
Migo offered him $10,000 to give Sinclair “leggers” or “leg warmers” — terms for shooting someone in the legs. He told the teenager that Sinclair had disrespected him and ripped him off.
Migo drove the teenager to London where they checked out the club, then returned to Hamilton. The teenager testified he was given a gun and a car to drive back to London, where he waited until 5 a.m. for Sinclair to come out.
After shooting Sinclair, he drove back to Hamilton, hid out for a few days and never saw Migo again.
Spangenberg told Garson the chilling facts of the case — where a young teen has become a hit man hired to shoot a biker — makes it stand out.
“This was not a spur of the moment, unplanned, juvenile act,” he said.
A psychiatric report pointed out that the teenager has no serious mental health issues except for mild depression. Spangenberg added that while the defence has submitted a report on possible race and culture issues that affected the teenager, “there are many young black males who suffer through poverty who have not gone on to murder.”
Spangenberg said he wouldn’t be raising any gang affiliations and said that the teenager acted as “a lone wolf” without any evidence he did this for his own peers.
The youth was motivated by money, willing to carry out the shooting and “stayed until he could get the job done,” Spangenberg said. He also had the “wherewithal” to get back to Hamilton, hide the gun, lay low and encrypt his cellphone.
Spangenberg said the teenager shows little remorse, only that “he regrets it happened.”
The Crown is reviewing case law surrounding the sentencing of youth as adults.
— Jane Sims (@JaneatLFPress) August 13, 2018
“His remorse is for the way it happened, not the outcome itself,” he said.
A psychiatric report prepared for the hearing said that the teenager was “indifferent to high-risk behaviour” and thought any shot to Sinclair’s legs might result in nothing more than an aggravated assault charge.
His philosophy seemed to centre on “every idea is a good idea, until it is a bad idea.”
He was described as “a guarded young man with inflated self-esteem.”
He told the writers of the report that “it must have been bad for (Sinclair’s) family because it was for him to lose his grandmother.”
Spangenberg said the teenager’s attitude was “more consistent with adult-type behaviour.”
He said the teenager is bright and knows the difference between right and wrong. He has no criminal record, but has a history of bad behaviour and adopting the gangster lifestyle.
While incarcerated, he has shown a well-rounded personality, leadership skills and that he can be “cool as a cucumber.”
For the first 18 months in custody, he was cited for poor behaviours including using contraband and engaging in violence. All of that suddenly stopped in April 2017 and he has been a model inmate since then.
Even with his good conduct, he was found in the psychiatric report to be a high risk to reoffend because of his “anti-social trajectory” and indifference to seeking help for his issues.
Spangenberg said he is “in danger of slipping back into the lifestyle.”
The case returns on Wednesday, when the defence is expected to argue for a youth sentence.