Chilliwack Law Courts. (Chilliwack Progress file)

Man charged with 2020 manslaughter in Chilliwack pleads guilty to weapon offence

William Trevor Escott caught with a taser 7 months prior to the alleged killing of Carlton Leith

The man charged with a homicide in December 2020 pleaded guilty in provincial court on Friday (March 11) to a weapon charge in the same area of downtown Chilliwack a few months before the alleged killing.

William Trevor Escott stood in courtroom 203 with a shaved head, wearing a red plaid shirt, jeans, and red shoes and pleaded guilty to carrying a taser and grabbing a bystander in the 7-Eleven on Yale Road and Williams Street on May 6, 2020.

Escott faces a trial for the manslaughter of Carlton Leith in the same block downtown on Dec. 27, 2020.

READ MORE: Manslaughter charges filed in death of Chilliwack’s Carlton Leith

In the May 6 incident, the court heard that RCMP were called to a report of suspicious behaviour in the 7-Eleven. Officers found the now 41-year-old “behaving clearly intoxicated,” and an officer spotted a black metal cylindrical object in his back pocket.

An officer thought it might have been a gun, but turned out to be a taser. Escott also grabbed an unknown male from behind.

“I’m assuming that male would have been somewhat terrified about the incident,” Judge David Albert told Escott.

Escott’s lawyer told the court that he has been in drug and alcohol recovery for over a year, first at VisionQuest in Langley and now he is in Kelowna.

“I’ve been in recovery for 14 months,” Escott said. “I did a 180, I’m not going down that road any more.”

While Escott does have convictions on his record for impaired driving and driving while prohibited, the court heard that he does not have a record for violent offences.

Judge Albert agreed to a joint submission of a suspended sentence and two years of probation, as well as a weapons prohibition.

The court did not hear about the manslaughter charge he is facing, only that he faces a preliminary inquiry in the coming days.

Escott’s trial in the manslaughter of Leith is scheduled for April 19.

Just before 1 a.m. on Dec. 27, Chilliwack RCMP arrived at the 46200-block of Yale Road and found Leith suffering from serious injuries. He was taken to hospital where he died a few days later.

Investigators learned that the 45-year-old Leith was involved in an altercation with Escott, who was tracked down and arrested.

Police said at the time they believed it to be an isolated incident with no connections to any recent acts of violence.

Leith was in the news in 2011 for his role protecting a nurse from an out-of-control psychiatric patient at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. Leith intervened as a man was raining punches down on a nurse who was lying on the floor. Though the man was significantly larger than Leith, he was able to apply a choke hold and hold the man until hospital security arrived.

For his heroism, Leith received a Police Board Commendation from former Abbotsford Mayor George Peary.

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Carlton Leith was killed following an alleged altercation with William Trevor Escott in the early hours of Dec. 27, 2020. (RCMP photo)

Carlton Leith was killed following an alleged altercation with William Trevor Escott in the early hours of Dec. 27, 2020. (RCMP photo)

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