A Kamloops man who threatened “vigilante” action when talking to police days before using a metal baseball bat to beat a teen into a coma has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Kristopher Teichrieb, 41, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to aggravated assault in connection to a beating he levelled against then-18-year-old Jessie Simpson on June 19, 2016.
Teichrieb’s attempted murder trial was scheduled to begin on Monday before he accepted a plea deal from prosecutors.
Sitting in the prisoners’ box with his head down, Teichrieb and about 30 other people in the courtroom listened as Crown prosecutor Wendy Stephen read out an agreed statement of facts, including Teichrieb’s actions in the months leading to the attack.
The agreed statement of facts begins with brief physical descriptors of the two men involved: Simpson, a 5-foot-5, 18-year-old weighing 135 pounds and Teichrieb, then 39, standing six feet tall and weighing 220 pounds.
In 2016, court heard, Teichrieb had a series of escalating interactions with police based on his belief his neighbourhood, the area around Holt Street and Clifford Avenue near McArthur Island, was under siege by violent thieves.
“Mr. Teichrieb perceived there was escalating property crime and violence in the months leading up to the offence,” the document states, outlining a number of incidents involving Teichrieb calling 911 to report suspicious activity, beginning in February 2016.
The next month, he called again, this time to report a loud party. “We’re getting a bit fed up out here,” he told the 911 operator.
On May 27, 2016, Teichrieb called 911 again and said he caught a thief breaking into a van near his home, noting he “gave him a couple of smacks and then he ran,” court heard.
On June 12, 2016, seven days before Simpson was attacked, Teichrieb’s neighbour phoned police to report suspicious activity. When officers arrived, Teichrieb left his home to speak to a constable.
“He also asked if he needed to get his bat out,” the agreed statement of facts reads. “Mr. Teichrieb told Const. Reddeman that the next time he caught someone in his yard, he would take it into his own hands.”
According to the agreed statement of facts, Reddeman encouraged Teichrieb to contact police rather than confront an individual.
Later the same day, Teichrieb called police to report a separate incident. While talking with a dispatcher, he made a threat: “There’s going to be some vigilante shit going on down here pretty soon if it doesn’t change. I’m telling you. This is not working.”
Court heard Simpson was out partying with friends on the night of June 18, 2016. At about 4 a.m. the next morning, he became separated from his friends while leaving a house party on nearby Stardust Street.
Simpson is believed to have been intoxicated when he wandered onto Teichrieb’s property.
Teichrieb was alerted by his girlfriend at about 4:30 a.m. that someone was in their yard. He grabbed an aluminum baseball bat and went outside, asking her to call 911.
Teichrieb confronted Simpson in the yard of his home. Simpson fled, running 80 to 90 metres onto the street.
“Mr. Teichrieb pursued him,” the agreed statement of facts reads. “Mr. Teichrieb struck Mr. Simpson with the baseball bat, with his hands and with his fists.”
A number of Teichrieb’s neighbours called 911 to report the altercation. One neighbour said he could hear Simpson crying and see him covered in blood. Another said he saw Teichrieb, holding his baseball bat, dragging Simpson by the backpack about 15 metres along the street.
One neighbour told police he heard Teichrieb yelling, “Stay the f--- out of my yard,” and, “Why are you in my yard?” during the altercation.
Police arrived on the scene at 4:37 a.m. and found Teichrieb straddling a bloodied, motionless Simpson, saying, “I got him,” according to the agreed statement of facts.
An aluminum bat covered in Simpson’s blood was found nearby. Simpson’s blood was also found on Teichrieb’s right hand and on the knee area of his pants.
Police found no evidence Simpson had been attempting to break in or steal anything from Teichrieb, court heard, but officers did find blood stains and drag marks in Teichrieb’s yard.
Teichrieb was arrested at the scene and remained behind bars for more than two years before being granted bail in August to spend time with his ailing father. He was taken back into custody following Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.
Simpson was treated at the scene by paramedics and rushed to Royal Inland Hospital for emergency brain surgery. Doctors described catastrophic injuries to his skull and face and told his mother to decide with family whether to keep Simpson on life support.
Simpson remained in a coma until the spring of 2017. He has shown modest improvement since then and was discharged from hospital in April 2018. Simpson remains in a long-term care facility and will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.
Susana Simpson, Jessie’s mother, sat in court while Stephen read her victim-impact statement.
“As a mom, this was every parent’s worst nightmare,” the statement reads. “This incident … has robbed my son of his future. I will never see my Jessie walk through the door and give me a big hug. It’s unimaginable and unforgivable.”
Teichrieb, who has no prior criminal record, apologized in court.
“I’ve hurt a lot of people,” he said. “I can’t change that now. I just have to live with it for the rest of my life. I’m tremendously sorry for what I’ve done.”
Stephen and defence lawyer Jordan Watt pitched a joint submission of seven years in prison in exchange for Teichrieb’s guilty plea. Once he’s given credit for time served — calculated at 1.5 day for every day served in pre-trial custody — Teichrieb will have about 44 months of new time to serve in federal custody.
“This was a senseless and irrational reaction by Mr. Teichrieb,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley said in delivering his sentence. “Mr. Teichrieb had been told by the police not to engage in his own form of vigilante justice.”
Dley called Teichrieb’s attack “extreme” and “out of proportion” even for defence of property.
“His unlawful and unprovoked attack has resulted in catastrophic consequences,” the judge said.
In addition to the jail time, Teichrieb was also ordered to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database.
Teichrieb will be eligible for day parole next summer and full parole in January 2020. His sentence will expire in June 2022.