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Man sentenced to three years over fatal downtown fight

Mar 07 2012

The common-law wife of Billy Lupaschuk stormed out of B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday after the man who killed her husband was handed a three-year prison sentence.

William Kilby, 34, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February. He admitted to punching the heavily intoxicated Lupaschuk, 52, more than three years ago in the middle of a downtown Victoria drug deal.

Lupaschuk was trying to buy cocaine from Kilby on Oct. 4, 2008, and had become verbally belligerent before being slugged in the face. He fell and hit his head on the concrete at the end of Swift Street. Lupaschuk died eight days later in hospital.

His common-law wife, Carol Leadbeater, sat sobbing in the courtroom until Justice Robert Johnston gave his sentence.

"I'll see you when you get out, Billy," she shouted several times before leaving.

Johnston said he had a difficult timeline to consider in his decision because Kilby was not charged with manslaughter until Oct. 14, 2010.

During the two years between Lupaschuk's death and the manslaughter charge, Kilby had been convicted of a home invasion, an alleged drug raid gone wrong in January 2010. He was one of two men raiding the home, but he got caught and was beaten nearly to death with a shovel by the people inside, court heard.

Kilby was sentenced to five years for the home invasion in October 2010, before he first appeared in court for the manslaughter charge.

Lupaschuk had longstanding drinking problems, but Johnston did not consider that a relevant factor in the attack.

"Lupaschuk was a human being who deserved to live," he said.

Kilby gave a brief statement to the court before sentencing. Wearing blue jeans, white sneakers and a white button-down shirt, he stood and said, "I apologize to the courts and to [Lupaschuk's] friends and family for my actions that resulted in his death."

Turning toward Leadbeater, sitting behind him, he continued: "I'm sorry."

During a break outside the courtroom, Leadbeater discounted the sincerity of the apology.

"He could have taken time in the last few years to write to me," she said. "He only means it ... for the courts."

Johnston said Kilby's violent history was a significant factor in his decision.

The criminal record has six assault convictions between 1996 and 2007, one of those included a punch he threw during an argument with another man about who was going to drive home from the bar, Crown counsel explained.

Kilby has battled drug addiction for most of his adult life, court also heard, and he has a long history of suicide attempts.

Kilby has tried to kill himself five times, defence lawyer Mike Munro said. He described one occasion when Kilby tried to overdose on heroin and another when he injected himself with barbecue lighter fluid. One can only imagine where a person has to be mentally and emotionally to consider such actions, Munro told the court.

dspalding@timescolonist.com

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