Crown counsel is seeking 12 to 15 years in prison for the man who fired a gun into the windshield of a long-time enemy in a Tim Hortons drive-thru in 2015.
The sentencing hearing for Beau Clark, 38, ran May 12 in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack.
Clark’s lawyer Chris Terepocki asked for an eight-to-10-year sentence.
After seven hours of deliberation, and after a five-day trial, a jury convicted Clark on Dec. 13, 2016 of the attempted murder of Shaun Dalke.
The question that jury was asked was, when Clark walked up to the front of the pickup truck at the Tim Hortons drive-thru window on Aug. 10, 2015 and fired one round from a handgun into the windshield of a vehicle Dalke was driving, did he have the intent to kill him?
The jury said “yes” to the motive behind the incident caught on surveillance video.
Dalke, who was driving his mother’s pickup truck, was sitting next to his new girlfriend, and Clark’s long-time girlfriend, Sara Andrews.
After the shooting, Dalke drove away to Chilliwack General Hospital. He was left bloodied, with five nine-millimetre bullet fragments in his neck and chin.
In the months leading up to the shooting, Clark had an on-again-off-again, drug-fuelled relationship with Andrews. Dalke, a man himself with serious criminal convictions in his past and who still faces charges, knew Clark from many years prior. The jury was told how the two men did not get along. Clark claimed that on at least one occasion Dalke pointed a gun at him and threatened him.
Clark and his lawyer Chris Terepocki painted a picture of a multi-year dispute, previous threats with a handgun by Dalke and his brother on Clark, and a conflict waiting to happen.
“I’ve been anticipating for weeks that something was going to happen between me and Dalke,” Clark told the court when he took the stand.
There was no intent to kill, Terepocki argued, the crucial element in proving attempted murder, because Clark ran into Dalke that day by chance, seeing him in the truck with Andrews at Eagle Landing while he was out on his longboard.
Clark testified that he decided to go to confront Dalke in the drive-thru and then panicked when, he claimed, Dalke revved the vehicle and grinded the gears.
This was not attempted murder because the shot was fired, so argued the defence, in the heat of the moment.
The Crown painted a very different picture based on physical evidence, the testimony of Dalke and Andrews, and Facebook messages leading up to the incident.
Not only did Dalke begin dating Andrews in August 2015 right after Clark and Andrews had their final breakup, Clark threatened Dalke with gun violence on at least one occasion.
A string of Facebook exchanges and text messages show a man desperate to get his girlfriend back, and angry about their latest in a long line of challenges in what he called a “toxic relationship.”
Key among the evidence for motive was detailed comments about Clark’s anger issues and his frustration with the relationship. Add to that his ongoing disdain for Dalke since a time before either man had even met Andrews.
Then there was the crime itself. The jury was shown a video of Clark walking towards the pickup in the drive-thru, pulling a gun out of a handbag and firing one shot into the windshield.
He then is seen to go around to the driver’s side and point the gun into the truck. What happens next was the subject of some dispute.
Clark claims he just pointed the gun after being put into a panic, and before Dalke drove off.
Crown alleged, and evidence by Dalke and Andrews was given, that Clark tried to fire the gun again but it jammed. A firearms expert testified in the case about a number of elements of the incident, including the two-handed motion needed to cock a handgun manually, something that Clark appears to do on the video.
Clark sat in the prisoners’ box Friday wearing a checked dress shirt, blazer and black-rimmed glasses. His lawyer’s submissions put particular emphasis on the Gladue report, which is a pre-sentencing report that addresses an offender’s aboriginal background.
Terepocki said Clark is from the Lower Nicola Band and his grandmother is a sexual abuse survivor of the residential schools. Terepocki added that this was the first Gladue report he had seen that really laid out some of the terrible treatment experienced by First Nations people.
“It was really quite unsettling and disturbing,” Terepocki said, pointing to what he called “echoes in the legacy” that led to Clark’s actions on Aug. 10, 2015.
Clark’s father was a drug user and was out of his life by the age of eight, and he turned to marijuana before he was a teenager. By 17 he was using crystal meth and by 21, heroin.
Clark’s date for sentencing is set for July 31. Whatever the sentence, as of that date Clark will have been in custody for 23 months. At the standard time-and-a-half ratio, he will be credited with 34.5 months.