Ryan Armstrong of Burnaby pleaded guilty Sept. 29 to killing Victoria Heppner, whose body was found March 29, 2016 near Stave Lake in Mission.

Nine month delay in sentencing for man who killed, burned and dumped body near Mission

Ryan Jack Armstrong of Burnaby pleaded guilty last fall to manslaughter of Victoria Heppner

Difficulty in finding someone to write a psychiatric report for a Burnaby man who murdered a 28-year-old woman means his sentencing is delayed by nine months.

Ryan Jack Armstrong killed Victoria Norma Heppner on March 29, 2016, burned her body and dumped her on a forest service road in Mission.

Armstrong pleaded guilty on Sept. 29, 2017 to the killing and a two-day sentencing hearing was scheduled for Feb. 13, 2018.

• READ MORE: Man pleads guilty to killing woman, burning and dumping body near Mission

But in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, Crown Carolyn Lawlor explained the delay in sentencing was related to difficulty getting a pre-sentence report with a psychiatric component written.

“Mr. Armstrong’s family has now secured a private psychiatric report,” Lawlor said.

Between leaving eight weeks for the report to be written and court scheduling, the two-day sentencing hearing is now set for the week of Nov. 19.

Armstrong appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack via video briefly on July 23.

The manslaughter charge he pleaded to was a step down from the original charge of second-degree murder he faced after his original arrest on March 31, 2016. That was two days after the body of Heppner was found by a passerby on Florence Lake Forest Service Road near Stave Lake.

Lawlor said both Armstrong’s family and Heppner’s family, all of whom are from out of province, are planning to attend the two-day sentencing hearing in November. The Justice on the file will be given the pre-sentence report in advance of the hearing so he or she can make a decision right way.

– with files from Vikki Hopes, Abbotsford News


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