A trial is underway in B.C. Supreme Court to determine how much money a Kamloops man will pay for beating local teenager Jessie Simpson into a coma in 2016.
Kristopher Teichrieb has been found civilly liable for monetary damages or costs stemming from the attack and its aftermath.
The trial, which began on Tuesday, will determine compensation. Simpson’s lawyer, Kelsey O’Bray-Lazer, said the plaintiffs are seeking the upper limit of non-pecuniary damages, aggravated damages, punitive damages, loss of housekeeping capacity, loss of income accruing capacity both past and future and care costs.
Teichrieb is representing himself in court, but was not present on Tuesday. Teichrieb is currently in jail, having been sentenced in 2018 to seven years in prison, after pleading guilty to aggravated assault. O’Bray-Lazer told justice Dev Dley that Teichrieb had been made aware of the proceedings and served notice of the trial.
The civil action follows Simpson, then 18, celebrating high school graduation on June 19, 2016. He became separated from friends and wound up on Teichrieb’s property near the corner of Holt Street and Clifford Avenue in Brocklehurst.
Teichrieb attacked Simpson with his fists and a metal baseball bat. According to witnesses, the bulk of the attack took place in the middle of the street after Simpson tried to run from Teichrieb. Simpson’s injuries were significant. He suffered serious brain injuries and will require 24-hour care for the rest of his life.
His mom, Sue Simpson, along with friends of the family, continue to organize various fundraising activities. In the weeks leading up to the attack, Teichrieb had threatened vigilante action after calling police to report a number of incidents of theft and trespassing. Police warned him not to take matters into his own hands.
Testimony was heard on Tuesday from two witnesses: Simpson’s mother and former RCMP officer Grant Bernier, who examined Simpson at the scene.
Sue Simpson testified that she experienced much trauma and stress since the attack on her son. She said Jessie was in surgery for five hours after the attack and it was unclear if he would survive. She went to see him as soon as he was out of the operating room.
"I didn’t recognize him,” Sue Simpson said. “His face was swollen, his tongue was out of his mouth.”
She testified being at her son’s bedside daily, often staying overnight at the hospital, commuting at times the lengthy trip to check on their home in Savona.
She said her son was in a coma for 10 months and at one point doctors suggested taking him off life support. He’s had infections and various complications since the attack. After years in the hospital, he was eventually moved the the Hamlets long term care home where he currently resides.
The single mother described her employment as 40 hours a week with a salary in the $30,000 range, working for the Skeetchestn Band prior to the attack on her son. Income tax forms submitted showed her earnings dwindled in the years since. She described having to take two leaves of absence over the past four years from work in order to stay by her son’s side, which eventually led to her losing her job.
Sue Simpson described her son prior to the accident as a caring, happy young man who loved to be outdoors, doing activities such as skateboarding, snowboarding and mountain biking, and that he gravitated toward metalwork and rugby in school.
She said her son had written up a resume just two days before the attack, as he was hoping to get into the workforce full-time, possibly in roofing or other construction.
Bernier said he had seen many assaults in his 14-year policing career, but the assault on Simpson was the worst he had seen. He said the scene was even more gruesome than one in which someone had been beaten to death.
“It’s vivid in my brain because it’s so bad,” Bernier said. “It’s one of those scarred in your head.”
No other people are scheduled to testify in the trial, but a number of reports from experts and Simpson’s doctors have been submitted. The trial is scheduled for five days, but could wrap up earlier.