A Shuswap man has been handed a four-year prison sentence for his part in a deadly 2016 shootout — an incident the judge called a “throwback to the Wild West.”
Richard Allen Williams had been charged with attempted murder, but that charge was dropped by the Crown in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of reckless discharge of a firearm.
The 61-year-old was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Tuesday.
Court heard Williams and a friend, Darin Krawat, were out looking for another man, Clayton Hill, on Feb. 7, 2016. According to Crown prosecutor Chris Balison, the two entered Hill’s house through an unlocked front door at about 6:30 p.m. that day, masked and armed with baseball bats, but he was not home.
Hill’s wife phoned her husband and warned him not to come home. Balison said Hill then picked up a friend and took it upon himself to locate Williams and Krawat.
The two parties crossed paths in their vehicles on a rural road in Celista. Both stopped and a confrontation ensued.
Multiple gunshots were fired. Court heard Krawat was fatally wounded and Williams shot Hill in the neck.
Hill made a full recovery, court heard, and no charges were ever laid in relation to Krawat’s death.
Balison said the two sides were in disagreement because of a “business arrangement” between Williams and Hill “some years prior.”
Williams, who has no prior criminal record, was arrested four days after the shootout and has been in custody since. With credit for time served, he will have nearly 20 months left to spend behind bars. Defence lawyer Jeremy Jensen said Williams, who was born in Nova Scotia, moved to B.C. in 2002.
“I have a lot of remorse for this situation I find myself in,” Williams said in court. “I feel very ashamed for putting my family through this.”
In addition to the jail time, Williams was also ordered to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database and was given a 10-year firearms prohibition.
“The circumstances throw back to the Wild West, where Mr. Williams and his associate engaged in a shootout with Mr. Hill and his compatriot,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley said.
“It is apparent that whatever dispute was at issue was treated seriously and with dire consequences.”