Prison for home invasion attacker
A Carstairs-area man has been handed a federal prison term for his part in a November 2010 home invasion of a Didsbury residence where one of seven victims was nearly killed.
Jesse Boyd Beach, 20, was found guilty following a 10-day Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench trial of aggravated assault (four counts), assault with a weapon (four counts), possession of a prohibited weapon, and wearing a disguise in the commission of a crime. He was sentenced by Justice W. P. Sullivan on Wednesday.
On November 21, 2010 two masked men, including Beach, broke into a home in the 2000 Block of 24th Avenue in Didsbury. Once inside the residence, the men attacked three of the residents with a hammer and a hatchet, causing severe injuries.
The assailants also fired bear spray at all seven people in the home, injuring them all.
The attack was motivated by a dispute over a girl, court heard.
One of the injured men suffered life-threatening and permanent injuries in the attack. That man said the unprovoked attack came without warning.
“I held my arm up to block the bear spray when he (one of the assailants) hit me in the head with the hatchet,” he said. “I remember being hit with the hatchet on the back of the head. I don’t remember anything else until I came to in the kitchen with my jaw over to one side and blood all over my head. I feared for my life.”
A second injured man also suffered permanent injuries, court heard.
During sentencing in Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench on Wednesday Crown prosecutor Sarah Stewart asked Justice Sullivan to impose a prison sentence of between 10 and 12 years.
“Mr. Beach was involved in a vicious and life-threatening attack,” said Stewart. “It is pure luck that nobody died. Mr. Beach is substantially responsible for what happened on that day.”
Beach showed “blatant disregard” for the consequences of his actions, she said.
“There is a great moral blameworthiness for Mr. Beach,” she said.
Defence lawyer Tyson Dahlem said the fact that Beach was only 18 years old at the time of the attack and that he had no previous criminal convictions were mitigating factors.
He called Beach, who has a Grade 10 education, an “unsophisticated person” who did a “terrible thing.”
Dahlem asked for a sentence of between six and eight years.
Following submissions by lawyers, Beach addressed the court himself.
“What I did that day was horrible,” said Beach, who cried during his address. “I’d like to apologize to the victims and their families for what happened that day. I have to live with this. If I could take back everything I would. It was a horrible decision.”
Several members of Beach’s family were in attendance during sentencing. None of the victims attended the session.
Judge Sullivan told Beach that only the intervention of “modern medicine” prevented a fatality in the case.
“The injuries suffered in this case were just huge,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan said despite the severity of the attack and the injuries suffered by the victims, he believes Beach’s relative youth and his lack of record make recidivism unlikely.
“You are a young man and I believe you will be rehabilitated,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan sentenced Beach to six years in prison and handed him a lifetime weapons prohibition.
A second man charged in the same case will be back in court August 8 for arraignment.
He cannot currently be identified due to a publication ban, said prosecutor Stewart.