Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Former biker sentenced to eight years for attack

Targeted family in case of mistaken identity

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A former Winnipeg outlaw biker with a storied criminal past was handed eight years in prison Thursday for terrorizing an innocent young family with a high-powered handgun while on the hunt for people who brutally attacked his ex and mother of his children.

Prospects of rehabilitation for Kevin Sylvester, 50, are a secondary concern to loudly denouncing his crimes, Judge Dale Schille said.

The judge shot down Sylvester's request for a sentence of five years on charges of possession of a restricted firearm, dangerous driving and possession of a firearm while prohibited.

Schille said Sylvester's criminal record -- one replete with gun-related violence -- disentitles him to any leniency for his Oct. 1 afternoon outburst, which left investigators baffled.

The former Spartans gang member got into a verbal dispute with a man and woman -- total strangers -- standing outside their minivan on King Edward Street, Schille heard at a previous sentencing hearing in August.

The victims had just put their young daughters aged 21 months and nine months in the back of the vehicle, closed the rear doors and were about to leave when Sylvester drove up in his minivan and began asking questions.

The Crown conceded Sylvester couldn't see kids were in the back of the van.

"Who are you?" he asked the mom. "What do you mean, who am I?" she replied, "Who are you looking for and what the f*** do you want?"

Sylvester responded by swearing and pulling out a loaded .45-calibre handgun.

Seeing the gun prompted the victims to jump in their van and speed off. Sylvester chased them for about four blocks and rammed their vehicle about 10 times while pointing the gun out his window. No shots were fired.

The chase concluded when the mom, who was driving and calling 911 at the same time, veered off by performing a sudden, "risky" 90-degree turn and lost him.

Police caught up to Sylvester outside a home on Maryland Street about 90 minutes later and recovered the gun, which the Crown described as a functional "Frankenstein gun" made up of various mismatched parts. It had a round in the chamber ready to fire, said Schille.

Police also found more ammunition and a Kevlar vest in Sylvester's home.

Court was told around the time of the incident Sylvester's ex was hospitalized after being savagely beaten and burned.

He left her hospital bedside and hit the streets in hopes of exacting revenge.

Instead of dishing out vigilante justice, "he simply attacked the wrong people," Schille said.

The judge credited Sylvester for 11 months and eight days of time already served.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 13, 2013 A9

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