Annie Hutton, Chris Ausman’s mother, speaking to media after Steven Pirko’s sentencing last Friday at the Kelowna courthouse. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

‘Three young men collided that night’: Chris Ausman’s mother speaks about her son’s murder

‘It’s a very sad, sad scenario. We can move forward now to start a new journey.’

Steven Pirko brought a hammer to a fistfight he wasn’t a part of.

On Friday, he was handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 11 years in a Kelowna courtroom for the murder of Cranbrook resident Christopher Ausman.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 25, 2014, Pirko and his friend Elrich Dyck were drunk, walking down Highway 33 in Rutland.

Dyck was looking for a fight with just about everyone they passed.

Ausman, who’d also been drinking, ended up the willing combatant Dyck was looking for.

Just over a minute into the fight, Ausman gained the upper hand, prompting Dyck to call out to Pirko for assistance.

Pirko took a hammer he had been carrying and struck Ausman in the leg first before hitting him on the head several times, killing him.

“Of all of the options available to Mr. Pirko, he went for the hammer,” said B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allan Betton during his sentencing decision.

Pirko and Dyck fled, leaving Ausman to die on the sidewalk. A passing police officer found his body around 2 a.m. that morning.

Pirko was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury in June 2019.

While a life sentence was a foregone conclusion with the second-degree murder conviction, last week’s two-day sentencing determined the length of Pirko’s parole ineligibility —which Betton decided should be slightly more than the 10-year minimum sought by the defence and less than the 12 to 15 years the Crown suggested.

“He has expressed remorse and in my view, it’s sincere,” said Betton.

Due to the 947 days credit he received for time served, Pirko will spend another eight-and-a-half years behind bars before he’s eligible for parole.

Ausman’s friends and family broke down into tears as the man convicted of killing their friend, son and father faced them and apologized on Friday.

“I just want to say I’m very, very sorry for everything,” said Pirko, addressing Ausman’s family from the prisoner’s box.

“It makes me sick how sad that little girl is and how sad all of you are. I feel horrible and I always will.

“I’d give almost anything to take it back.”

The pain felt by Ausman’s family became apparent as they shared their victim impact statements on Thursday, which moved most in the courtroom to tears.

Ausman’s daughter, Dylynn Couttie, now 16 years old, was just 10 years old when she lost her father.

“I will never be able to know who my father was. I can only hear about who he was,” she said.

“I will never remember what his voice sounded like or how he dressed.”

Ausman’s mother Annie Hutton said she has tried to find the words to explain her grief for the past six years and called losing her son “every parent’s worst nightmare.”

“What is left is nothing short of a living hell,” she said. “My shattered heart will never heal.”

The end of the more than six-year-saga was marked by a tear-filled embrace between two unlikely parties — the mothers of both Pirko and Ausman.

“I want you to tell Steven to get better and to get his education and when he gets out, to help people,” Hutton told Pirko’s mother.

“Please tell him that for me.”

Hutton said while she’s glad to be done with the court proceedings, it’s a situation in which “nobody really wins.”

“Three young men collided that night. Three worlds got changed horribly,” she said on the courthouse steps after the sentencing concluded.

“It’s a very sad, sad scenario. We can move forward now to start a new journey.”

READ MORE: Kelowna murderer, Steven Pirko, sentenced to life in prison

READ MORE: Kelowna murderer responsible for installation of cameras that caught him


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Casinos butt heads over table games at Kelowna council meeting

Chances will soon offer table games, despite opposition from Playtime Casino

Maxine DeHart: The people’s people person

She was first elected as a councillor in 2011 and sits on numerous boards and committees in Kelowna

District of Lake Country receives financial reporting award

This is the fifth consecutive year that the district has received the award

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

City of Kelowna to make improvements to Paul’s Tomb on Knox Mountain

Paul’s Tomb will be closed for the month of March

VIDEO: Minister says consider coronavirus outbreak when planning for spring break

Foreign Affairs minister points to rash of new cases appearing in places like Italy and Iran

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

RCMP asking for more officers to better enforce speed limit on Trans Canada Highway

City council will bring the motion to the Southern Interior Local Government Association

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Donations pour in for family who lost father, son in fatal crash on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Beer and burgers to raise cash for Vernon man fighting cancer

Fundraiser hosted in honour of Garnet the Great to send him to special treatment centre

HERGOTT: Idiocy of distracted driving

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

Hollywood actor Chris Pratt shows Kamloops love on social media

The filming of Jurassic World 3 is underway in Merritt and area

B.C. man who pulled a gun on off-duty cop gets two years in prison

Encounter also led police to a home where 100 guns and explosives were found

Most Read