A young city street gang member who set off a fatal confrontation which ended in the shooting death of a man he mistook for a rival will serve 12 years in prison.
Chance Guimond, 21, pleaded guilty to manslaughter today for his instigator's role in the Dec. 7, 2011 death of Darren Paul George, 22, in a West End back lane.
"To me, you're nothing but a coward, the worst ever coward, ever," George's distraught mother, Natalie Matinet, told Guimond in a statement read in court. "You will never be forgiven, not in my books."
George was walking with a friend in a Toronto Street back lane when he was spotted by Guimond and a co-accused, both Mad Cowz members. They mistook the men for members of the Manitoba Warriors, Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal was told.
While the specifics aren't absolutely clear, a comment along the line of "what's up, you want some beef (a fight)," was uttered toward the victim. "Empty your pockets," Guimond was heard telling George.
Guimond's co-accused retrieved a rifle hidden in a yard nearby and fired several shots, two of which struck George, severely injuring him, prosecutor Jocelyn Ritchot said.
Guimond then rifled through George's pockets, taking a can of bear spray. At no time was George seen brandishing a weapon or otherwise inflaming the incident, prosecutors said.
The Crown agreed to accept a plea to manslaughter because they couldn't prove Guimond had the specific intent to commit murder, court heard. He was initially charged with second-degree murder.
Guimond was arrested in Calgary after fleeing the city after the shooting. He's been in custody since then.
George was a member of the Native Syndicate street gang, but was mistaken for a Manitoba Warrior because he was wearing a black parka.
The Mad Cowz and Warriors gangs have long been battling for drug turf in the central West End area.
His shooting sparked a war between the Native Syndicate and the Mad Cowz, Guimond's defence lawyer said.
George was expecting his first child and was enrolling in college.
"He was my baby," she told Joyal. "He left me in the most horrific way possible."
Guimond's co-accused remains before the courts and trial dates are pending.