A remorseful Roger Lapensee was sentenced to five years in jail Monday for killing a man in a jealous rage last year.
“I am sincerely sorry for what happened,” Lapensee, his voice choking with emotion, told the court. “If there was anything in this world I could do to change it I would.”
The 48-year-old Campbell River man was charged with second degree murder after an altercation on Aug. 18, 2010. Lapensee flew into a rage when his common law wife returned from a ride on a motorcycle owned by William (Billy) Beaudin, Crown counsel Bruce Goddard told the court. Lapensee told police he thought he saw Beaudin kissing his wife as he helped her remove her helmet. Lapensee approached the pair and began hitting Beaudin. Lapensee had a small pocket knife and stabbed Beaudin several times with it, the court was told.
Beaudin fell to the ground and Lapensee walked away. He went to the apartment of the building manager and told him there had been an altercation and that he had stabbed a man who had been “necking with his common law wife,” Goddard said.
Police were called and Lapensee “kept saying ‘I stabbed him. I don’t know how much I hurt him,’” Goddard told the court.
Lapensee was originally charged with assault with a weapon but Beaudin later died in hospital. When Lapensee was informed of Beaudin’s death, he “appeared shocked,” Goddard said.
Lapensee pleaded guilty to manslaughter and on Monday a victim’s impact statement from Beaudin’s parents was presented to the court as were character letters of reference on behalf of Lapensee. Lapensee had two previous convictions for theft but they were over twenty years ago and so old that Lapensee’s record was considered virtually clean.
“On that particular day, a tragedy occured. Several lives were unalterably changed,” Goddard said of the knife attack.
The Crown and defence put forward a joint submission agreeing that a five-year jail term was appropriate. Lapensee’s level of remorse as demonstrated by his early admission immediately after the stabbing and his guilty plea put a five year sentence out of a possible eight year term in line with previous case law presented in the joint submission.
Judge Brian Klaver accepted Lapensee’s remorse was genuine but had harsh words for the carrying of weapons, including knives. The judge said he has had to deal with heartbreaking cases where the presence of weapons resulted in tragedy.
“Some cases never leave my memory,” the judge said, “and this is probably going to be another one.”
Despite Lapensee’s remorse, the issue for society in this case is the fact that something sent Lapensee into a rage and caused him to take another person’s life.
“I can’t help but wonder is there another something out there that is going to send you into a rage?” Judge Klaver said.
The nature of a five-year sentence allows Lapensee and society time to figure out whether that is the case and what can be done about it, according to Judge Klaver.
As for the use of weapons, Judge Klaver said, “There’s a reason why in Canada people are not allowed to carry guns or knives.”
“So many times they end up killing the wrong people, If I had my way, nobody in Canada would carry any knife of any size,” the judge said.
Lapensee was sentenced to five years in jail, must provide a DNA sample and will be restricted from the use of fire arms for ten years.