A BC Supreme Court Justice has sentenced a Port Alberni man accused of killing his own brother last year to four years in prison minus time served.
Madame Justice Carol Ross handed down the sentence to Archibald Thompson, 25, in Supreme Court in Port Alberni on Jan. 21. Ross said she believes he was truly remorseful, and that there was “a strong likelihood of rehabilitation if his alcohol addiction is addressed”.
Thompson was granted credit for the eight months he’s already served, reducing his sentence to three years.
He will also have to submit a sample of his DNA to the federal criminal data bank, as well as abide by a 10-year ban on possession of weapons.
The sentence was the result of a joint submission between provincial prosecutor Gordon Baines and defence counsel Jordan Watt.
Thompson pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Nanaimo Provincial Court in November 2013.
“This is a very sad day, and it is more tragic than most,” Watt said. “Archibald will have to live with the guilt of killing his brother for the rest of his life. This never should have happened.”
More than a dozen of Thompson’s family attended the proceedings, many telling Archibald they still loved him. “This speaks volumes about their character and commitment in the face of the tragic circumstances that have transpired,” Watt said.
Standing in the prisoner’s docket dressed in blue sweat pants and a black hoodie, a shackled Thompson spoke to the court. “I’m deeply sorry for what I did. I miss my brother. I wish this never happened,” he said. “It will be a very long time before I forgive myself.”
The arc of events began on May 6, 2013 when Aaron Thompson, 21, was found on Redford Street bleeding from an abdominal stab wound. He was taken to West Coast General Hospital where he later died of his injuries.
Later that afternoon, Aaron’s brother Archibald was arrested after a short chase in Dry Creek Park. He was charged with one count of second-degree murder, which was later reduced to manslaughter.
A statement of facts read aloud to the court by Baines illuminated the events of that dark day.
According to Baines, the incident took place in the apartment complex the brothers lived in on Redford Street with their mother. The brothers argued before 8 a.m. on May 6 about living arrangements and about Aaron’s plans to move to Alberta.
Aaron retreated to his room where he closed the door and locked it. Archibald grabbed a 19-centimetre long knife from the kitchen then kicked Aaron’s bedroom door down. Aaron shot Archibald in the face and arm with a pellet gun in an attempt to defend himself. A close-quarter scuffle ensued in which Archibald covered his face and swung the knife at Aaron, hitting a major abdominal artery.
Aaron staggered out of the building and across Redford Street where passers-by found him bleeding profusely.
Watt said Archibald has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in prison and taken anger management courses.
In her victim-impact statement, the men’s mother Marsha Thompson described being consumed by the death of one son, whom she called ‘my baby’, at the hands of her other son.
“I feel lost without Aaron. I feel hurt that I didn’t have the time to get to know him,” her statement noted. “I feel empty even though I have my other kids.”
She’s not mad at Archibald but she struggles to make sense of the incident. “I don’t know what happened or why. When I look at Aaron’s picture I think ‘Archie you took my baby away from me.’”