Kirkland Joseph Russell and Victoria Sherri Purcell were charged with second-degree murder for the July 7, 2017 killing of Douglas Presseau downtown Chilliwack. Russell pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Oct. 4, 2018 and a decision on his sentencing is expected Feb. 21, 2019. (RCMP/Facebook)

‘He didn’t intend to kill Mr. Presseau’ Chilliwack court told at manslaughter sentencing

Defence asks for 5 years for Kirkland Russell’s violent killing; Crown asking for 8 to 10 years

The tragic death of Douglas Presseau in a bloody, violent confrontation with an extremely intoxicated man in downtown Chilliwack was all a mistake, according to the man who killed him.

Day two of the sentencing hearing for Kirkland Joseph Russell was held in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack Feb. 12 with defence submissions, which included a recommendation that Justice Terence Schultes sentence Russell to five years in jail.

Crown counsel is asking for between eight and 10 years in jail.

• READ MORE: Emotional victim impact statements at sentencing hearing for Chilliwack killer of Doug Presseau

Russell has been in custody since July 21, 2017, amounting to 572 days in custody. At the usual 1.5-to-one- credit, he will be credited with two years and 128 days, plus however many more days until sentence is handing down.

“He didn’t intend to kill Mr. Presseau,” defence lawyer Cassandra Cronin told the court Tuesday.

“It’s clear that Mr. Presseau died as he tried to be a Good Samaritan to assist someone who was laying in the roadway…. What [Russell] thought was occurring is not supported by the evidence. He acted on the misperception that he was defending his partner who had been severely injured. I’m not suggesting in any way that he was correct in that. But that is what he thought in that moment.”

Cronin was addressing the agreed statement of facts read in court a day earlier by Crown counsel Abel Fok who said as Presseau attempted to help Russell’s girlfriend Bobbi Burris, Russell turned on the Good Samaritan, violently attacking him with a large knife, stabbing him 14 times, once in the heart killing him.

As he stabbed him he yelled “Why won’t you f—-ing die?”

Minutes earlier that night after Party in the Park downtown, Steven Drage was killed with a knife attack near Russell and his friends, but no witnesses saw the attack so no one has been charged in that case. A source reported to The Progress that police have hit a brick wall on the Drage killing, but there is hope someone will come forward.

Also charged originally with second-degree murder in the Presseau killing was Victoria Sherri Purcell. Here, too, Crown decided there was not enough evidence to proceed and the charge against her will likely be dropped this week.

• READ MORE: Manslaughter plea in connection with summer 2017 killing downtown Chilliwack

Purcell was said to encourage Russell to continue attacking Presseau, according to a witness in the case.

In contrast to a full courtroom on Monday, in court on Tuesday in the gallery were just two people, Russell’s partner Burris and Presseau’s aunt who had read a passionate victim impact statement a day earlier.

That day was extremely emotional with many tears among the 12-or-so individuals as victim impact statements were read by Presseau’s mother, grandmother, aunts, his uncle, other relatives and friends.

Both days Russell wore a black blazer, black pants and a white dress shirt with the collar up. He made no gestures to family members of the victim during impact statements, looking down for much of the proceedings.

Coming in to court and leaving court, in leg shackles both days, he smiled at Burris, winked at her at one point, and at another was seen clearly to mouth: “Love you babe.”

As part of defence submissions, Cronin pointed to three factors about his tragic upbringing: colonialism, the residential school system, and the child welfare system. Most of his elder family members were victims of the residential school system, and Russell spent his life in 60 to 65 different foster homes where he was both sexually and physically abused.

He began drinking heavily at age 12, using crystal meth at 13, and spent considerable time in youth custody. All these were factors put forth in a Gladue report, which is used to describe an offender’s Indigenous history and is by itself a mitigating factor.

“In custody he met a whole bunch of other boys who were angry and upset and that is the first sense of belonging he ever had,” Cronin said. “Which is not surprising but is certainly sad.”

Justice Schultes reserved his decision, which was scheduled to be handed down on Feb. 21 but was moved to March 6 in New Westminster.

• READ MORE: Man accused in downtown Chilliwack murder facing more charges

• READ MORE: Chilliwack man charged with murder once labelled a high risk sex offender


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Libraries call on reading buddies, dads to take part in literacy programs in Chilliwack

The annual Reading Buddies program and the brand-new Man in the Moon story time start this month

Westbound crash on Highway 1 in Langley causing extreme traffic delays

Collision occured just after Glover Road, cars backed up all the way to 264th Street

Chilliwack Chiefs blow out Prince George Spruce Kings in home opener

Ethan Bowen scored three goals as the Chiefs dumped their Mainland division rivals 6-2.

Missing Chilliwack 17-year-old last seen on August 20

RCMP asking public for help to find Lorenz Pentz

Blowback from the Trudeau in brownface debacle reaches Chilliwack

PM in questionable photos released in the middle of the federal election campaign had ripple effects

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Turbo and Lily at the Chilliwack SPCA

Say hello to Turbo and Lily, a pair of one-year-old dogs up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Surrey school district OKs students skipping class for global climate strike

Students must be excused from school by parents; will be able to make up missed work without penalty

Most Read