A Kamloops drug dealer with a history of criminal offences will spend almost four more years in jail for his role in drug-related shootings at a townhouse in Brocklehurst that left one man dead and a woman with gunshot wounds to the head.
Gordon Braaten was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday (April 30) after pleading guilty to manslaughter with a firearm in connection with the Feb. 15, 2019, shootings. He originally faced first-degree murder and attempted murder charges, but pleaded guilty in March to the lesser charge. His co-accused, Hugh McIntosh, stood trial earlier this year for the first-degree murder of Jason Glover, 39, and attempted murder of Kelly Callfas, 52, and was found guilty.
Justice Dev Dley accepted a joint submission from Crown prosecutors Andrew Duncan and Sarah Firestone, and Braaten’s defence counsel, Jim Heller, that handed the 37-year-old Braaten a seven-year prison sentence, along with a lifetime firearms ban.
Braaten has been in custody since March 3, 2019. When factoring in his 788 days in pre-trial custody — with 1.5 days’ credit for each day — he will remain in prison for the next 1,374 days.
The Feb. 15, 2019, shootings took place over a drug debt.
While he didn’t pull the trigger, Braaten was guilty of bringing about the violence that led to the shootings that injured Callfas and killed Glover.
Dley accepted that Braaten was not aware a shooting would take place that day, but said it’s clear from the admissions that he took McIntosh with him with the intention of getting money from Callfas and to intimidate her and Glover into compliance, knowing McIntosh carried a gun on him and a reputation for violence.
“This was a brutal, savage and deadly encounter and, while the consequences may not have been anticipated by Mr. Braaten, he certainly put into motion the events that resulted in the tragedy,” Dley said. “It was intended to be part of drug enforcement measures all under Mr. Braaten’s direction.”
In an agreed upon statement of facts, court heard Braaten, Callfas and McIntosh knew each other for years and were involved in the local illicit drug trade. Glover was Callfas’ roommate and not involved in her drug enterprise.
Callfas owed money to her drug supplier, known as JD, with or for whom Braaten worked at the time. Callfas testified that in early February 2019, she returned home to find her front door kicked in and some $20,000 stolen — $12,000 of which she owed to JD.
Braaten accused Callfas of knowing who stole the money, which she denied. On Feb. 15, 2019, Braaten and McIntosh went, to her home to find out who perpetrated the theft.
“It does not take much imagination to conclude the reason for attending and asking the questions was likely so that further retribution could be sought against those that had stolen the money,” Dley said.
Braaten told Callfas and Glover to discuss the money in her basement bedroom, where he confronted Callfas, demanding to know who took the cash, which she again denied knowing. Braaten also demanded the money she owed JD. Callfas produced a pouch with about $8,000 in cash, which upset Braaten, who was expecting the full payment.
McIntosh then entered the room and began firing, shooting Glover once in the back of the head and Callfas six times as she sat on her bed.
Braaten was present when McIntosh opened fire. Shortly after they fled, Mcintosh returned to retrieve the pouch of money from Callfas.
Both Callfas and Glover were conscious following the shooting. Glover died the following day in hospital.
MOM OF MURDER VICTIM SAID SON WAS GETTING HIS LIFE BACK TOGETHER
Two victim impact statements were read into the record on Friday — one from Callfas and another from Jason Glover’s mother, Jennifer Hale, who was at the sentencing hearing with other family members.
“They didn’t deserve to be shot. Jason was getting his life back together. He was happy. The last time I talked to him, he was just so happy. That happiness and potential future was taken away from him,” Hale’s statement read.
Callfas’ statement read that she will never be the same.
“Every day and night, I fear for my life and my family’s lives that someone or something will hurt us,” Callfas’ letter read.
Bratten addressed Glover’s family in court.
“I can’t change what happened, but I want to apologize and take responsibility for my role in this terrible tragedy. I’m very sorry for your loss,” Braaten told the family members.
Defence lawyer Heller described Braaten directing him to negotiate the plea deal as a significant step on his client’s part, opining Braaten had “a real possibility of acquittal.”
Heller said that while Braaten pleaded guilty on the basis of setting up the risk and danger to the victims with Mcintosh there as an intimidating force, Braaten was so “freaked out” by the shooting that when he fled, he left McIntosh behind.
Prosecutor Duncan said the case was one in which the Crown and defence had discussions and considered the seven-year sentence for Braaten as appropriate, given the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases.
Dley said he was satisfied with the joint submission as it is within range for such offences. As such, he said he must not depart from the recommendation.
McIntosh is scheduled to have a date fixed for his sentencing hearing on May 25. A conviction of first-degree murder carries with in a mandatory life sentence, with no change for parole for at least 25 years.