Plea bargain reached in cold-blooded killing of ex-inmate
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/03/2022 (336 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A B.C. man who admitted he had fatally shot a recently released inmate as he left a Winnipeg halfway house has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.
Dyllan Petrin pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder in the July 2020 shooting death of 31-year-old Cody Alexander Sleigh.
“This was clearly, by any standard, a cold-blooded murder… a senseless slaughter of another human being,” said Queen’s Bench Justice Rick Saull.
Petrin was set to stand trial for first-degree murder in April but agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge in a deal that will allow him to apply for parole five years earlier than if had been convicted on the original charge.
“A small reduction in parole ineligibility is appropriate,” given Petrin’s young age, admission of guilt and the subsequent avoidance of a complex trial, Crown attorney Chris Vanderhooft told court.
“Mr. Petrin is a young man and he is looking at a life sentence,” Vanderhooft said.
Co-accused Kleon Cassidy Pop, Petrin’s getaway driver, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 18 years in prison last month.
Court was told Sleigh had left the Main Street halfway house shortly before 6 a.m. and was about to get into a taxi to go to work when Petrin, who had been waiting outside wearing a yellow reflective vest as a disguise, shot Sleigh six times at point-blank range, including once in the head.
The taxi driver alerted police that Petrin had dropped his wallet as he ran to his rented Kia Forte5. The wallet didn’t contain identification, but it had Petrin’s DNA.
Petrin, who was on bail for a home invasion, was arrested in B.C. on Jan. 21, 2021.
Petrin, Pop and Sleigh all served prison time together in B.C. before Sleigh, who had been convicted of kidnapping and other offences, was released from Saskatchewan Penitentiary four months prior to his death.
While the motive for the killing remains unclear, it appears to be connected to disputes Sleigh had with another inmate while in custody in Surrey, B.C., Vanderhooft said.
“While we cannot say for sure Mr. Sleigh’s demise was as a result of incidents with (the inmate), Correctional Services Canada was aware Mr. Sleigh was potentially in danger,” Vanderhooft said.
Petrin and Pop drove to Manitoba in a borrowed car, then rented a 2017 Kia Forte5 under an assumed name and changed hotels twice before the killing. Both accused were seen cleaning the car before returning it to the rental agency.
“But for police tracking that Kia, narrowing it down to five such vehicles in the city and finding where all of them were… it was from that point that police did hundreds and hundreds of hours of work pulling this case together and finally identifying the culprits,” Vanderhooft said.
Sleigh was working two jobs and trying to turn his life around after his release from prison, his father John Sleigh wrote in a victim impact statement provided to court.
“Cody’s life was ended by the cowardly acts of some gutless criminals who shot and killed him in cold blood,” John Sleigh said. “We cannot find room in our hearts for forgiveness for the cowards who committed this heinous crime.”
Petrin’s guilty plea is the first step in repaying his debt to society and Sleigh’s family, said defence lawyer Chelsea Suderman.
“We acknowledge that debt will never be fully repaid,” she said.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.