Jim Lutz: Slaying victim’s family irate after verdict against Calgary teen

Family members of a 45-year-old Calgary man who was beaten and stabbed to death after he met some boys at a CTrain stop last year are not satisfied with the manslaughter and robbery convictions for one of the teens handed down on Monday.

The sister and uncle of Gabriel Okeynan said outside court they felt the 16-year-old boy, along with a 13-year-old who pleaded guilty to the same two charges at the start of trial last month, should have been convicted on the original charge of second-degree murder for the late-night June 20, 2014, slaying near Marlborough Mall.

“Justice was not served today,” the victim’s sister Brenda Peigan told reporters. “I am disappointed … because he was a life, he was a brother … I am angry, I am hurt.

“My brother was always laughing, joking around, easy-going. He did not deserve this.”

The victim’s uncle Derwent Okeynan said he blames the offenders’ parents for not keeping better control of their children, especially late at night when this attack occurred.

“I don’t like it,” he said. “They took somebody away from me, for nothing. As parents, we felt they should look after their kids, they’ve gone wild. They can do what they want, because they have no control over their kids.

“I’m frustrated. There’s no justice. I have to live without someone for the rest of my life. Somebody in the family has been taken away.”

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Scott Brooker said, despite the 16-year-old’s speech impediment and IQ of only 45, he was aware of what he was doing when he kicked Okeynan and helped the 13-year-old — who stabbed the man — also rob him.

“The only logical inference that can be drawn is that (the two boys) decided to lead Mr. Okeynan to an isolated area between a garbage can and a shed (near Marlborough Mall),” said Brooker. “Okeynan was wearing a backpack, they knew he had a DVD player inside and they led him to an isolated spot to rob him.

“Having listened to (the 16-year-old’s) evidence and watched him as he gave it, reviewed the trial transcripts, and with regard to his intellectual and speech impairments, I’ve come to the conclusion I do not believe him or have reasonable doubt.”

He said manslaughter did not require specific intent.

Jim Lutz, the lawyer for the 16-year-old boy convicted of manslaughter and robbery in the death of Gabriel Okeynan in 2014
Jim Lutz, the lawyer for the 16-year-old boy convicted of manslaughter and robbery in the death of Gabriel Okeynan in 2014

Defence lawyer Jim Lutz, said he will try to get his client out on bail until sentencing. The teen has been in custody since the slaying, and Lutz said he will be seeking a sentence of time already served.

“The issue of intellectual capacity will certainly be a key part of submissions, he has no prior record,” said Lutz. “There are a number of options available, involving open custody and closed custody.”

The 16-year-old testified he had only gently kicked the victim twice in the shoulder.

Crown prosecutor Darren Maloney, who argued for two years in custody plus a one-year conditional supervision order for the 13-year-old for his main role in the “group attack,” has stated he would be seeking an adult sentence for the 16-year-old.