George Young could walk away from prison Thursday, effectively serving just under two years behind bars for dragging a Kelowna man under his car to his eventual death.
Young, 31, appeared in court Monday, for sentencing related to charges of criminal negligence with use of an automobile and failure to stop at the scene of an accident and render assistance.
He’d earlier been charged with murder for the New Year’s 2010 death of Joel Reimer, but pleaded to the lesser charges in recent months, which his defence lawyer said should be viewed in his favour as a judge renders a decision on his sentence.
Defence said he’d like to see his client be sentenced to four years. If he’s credited with two years for each year he’s spent in prison, he’d be left with just three years of probation.
Conversely, Crown counsel said they’d like to see Young serve seven to eight years in prison, with only 1.5 years credit for each year already spent behind bars. They also asked that he face a 20-year driving prohibition, upon release.
Young, who is no stranger to the legal system racking up regular charges since his youth, killed Reimer Jan. 1, 2010, by dragging him under the minivan and eventually crushing him against a curb.
The issue at play in sentencing, isn’t whether Young was at fault, but whether he knew he was dragging Reimer under his van.
According to testimony entered into the record Monday, the two men had gone to a Pandosy Street apartment to continue partying, after a night of New Year’s Eve clubbing.
They were getting along, according to witness testimony submitted by Crown Counsel, until Young started to mutter that he didn’t like Reimer.
More words were exchanged, and a scuffle broke out.
After knocking over plants, and bumping into a stereo, the pair were jettisoned from the apartment they were staying at, onto the street.
At this point, the events become less clear.
Young told friends the morning of Jan. 1, 2010, that he and Reimer were fighting, and when he realized it was a losing battle he hopped into the van he’d borrowed from a friend to drive away.
Young told a friend he suspected Reimer may have been under the car, but he wasn’t sure.
Crown contends it would have been impossible for him to not realize what happened.
Testimony from residents around the believed point of impact—at the corner of Pandosy Street and Lake Avenue—said they heard a thump, screaming and groaning.
“He must of heard screaming and continued to drive,” contended the Crown, noting that Reimer was believed to be on his back when he was hooked under Young’s car.
The van was found a half-kilometer away from that area, had spun out on Park Avenue and was on a curb, with Reimer pinned below.
An autopsy showed he would have lived through being dragged the distance, and it wasn’t until he was pressed against the curb that he bled out from blunt force trauma to his torso.
Young, who spoke at sentencing, appeared contrite for his crimes, crying when making a statement to the court.
“Nothing I will say will bring Joel back,” he said to the courtroom packed full of Reimer’s friends and family.
“I’m so sorry for all the pain and suffering I caused you. I’ve seen you all in court, and you seem to be nice people…nobody deserves this.”
Friends of Young seemed largely unswayed by the emotional outpouring, with one saying he hopes Young gets what he deserves.