The man found guilty of murdering Christopher Ausman with a hammer in 2014 is facing sentencing in Kelowna courts today.
Steven Pirko’s sentencing hearing is scheduled to take two full days in court.
In January 2014, Ausman’s body was discovered by an RCMP officer on the sidewalk of Highway 33.
Pirko was charged with the second-degree murder Nov. 18, 2016, nearly three years after Ausman’s death, when he admitted killing Ausman with a hammer to police.
He told the two officers that he and his friend Elrich Dyck were drunk the night of Ausman’s death on Jan. 25, 2014.
They told police they were walking down Highway 33 in Rutland when Ausman ran up to them.
Pirko alleged Ausman grabbed Dyck and started hitting him repeatedly.
He said he didn’t want his friend to get hurt and he had a hammer in his pocket for protection, so he used the hammer to hit Ausman in the leg, to no effect.
The RCMP’s evidence of Pirko’s clothing, text messages and video surveillance on the night of Ausman’s murder is what pinned Pirko as a prime suspect during a three-year investigation.
The jury that found Pirko guilty recommended he serve 12 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
The sentencing hearing is ongoing.