Crown seeks 3.5 years jail for Osoyoos man's shooting

Crown seeks 3.5 years

A Penticton judge needs more time to decide whether an Osoyoos man will face jail time for a shooting incident in 2020.

Colton Jacob Thorsen appeared in Supreme Court Tuesday morning for sentencing, after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated assault — rather than attempted murder — and one count of uttering a threat of death in March 2022.

He was initially facing a charge of attempted murder, two counts of uttering threats and one count of pointing a firearm, all relating to an Oct. 11, 2020 incident at a residence in Osoyoos.

At around 1:26 a.m. on that date, police responded to a report of a shooting in the 8000 block of 70th Avenue.

Police reported that a 24-year-old man from Osoyoos, later identified as Thorsen, arrived at the residence of a 21-year-old man, also from Osoyoos, and shot him after an ongoing dispute.

RCMP said the suspect ran away and was later arrested on Oct. 13, 2020.

Crown council led the court through the night of the shooting and provided a text message exchange transcription between Thorsen and the victim, which led up to the incident.

Earlier in the night Thorsen had showed up at the home and smashed a hole in the front window.

Thorsen threatened in the text messages that he was going to come over to the victim’s residence again, writing “You want I load my rifle up and shoot your house up? Want me to?” as well as, “You little goof, I'll kill you and your mom.”

Thorsen then arrived at the residence and shot his gun twice, first hitting the railing of the building before hitting the victim. The bullet hit the victim’s lower abdomen, which later was removed during surgery.

He then left the area and was arrested by police two days later.

Thorsen gave a statement to RCMP upon arrest stating he had consumed 26 ounces of liquor that night and did not recall the shooting, but was “puking his guts up when he woke up and that he had looked up what the sentencing range was for charges he would be facing and thought that he would be doing a life sentence in jail.”

Crown said Thorsen still maintains that he does not know how he came into possession of the firearm and does not recall how the incident happened.

However, he had said that the victim “deserved it.”

According to the pre-sentence report, Throsen felt there was justification for his actions, claiming that the victim "was hurting girls and nobody was doing anything about it."

Thorsen was quoted saying in the report, “in my head, someone had to do it,” but later clarified that he did regret his actions that day.

Crown is seeking 3.5 years of jail time. Thorsen has credit available to him for time served, which equals approximately 10 and a half months of jail time. He was released on bail in May 2021.

Defence lawyer Michael Patterson said that since Thorsen has been arrested, he has “totally redeemed himself” by going through treatments, becoming completely sober and trying to make amends for his actions while holding down a steady job and doing volunteer work.

Patterson said his client has not had any additional arrests during this time.

“We're not asking the court to take a bet on him. He has bettered himself and for the last two years, he has demonstrated his ability to be compliant,” Patterson said.

“I know how serious this charge is and in no way will I minimize it. However, I am asking the courts if they would consider long-term probation, and ongoing counselling with myself and others. Incarceration at this time in his life would be self-defeating chances of success stories.”

Patterson said that while sending Thorsen to jail would show that the court takes gun crime seriously and it denounces the offence, it would set back all of the work Thorsen has done.

Thorsen was given a chance to address the court, and said he understands the severity of his charges.

“It was a terrible, terrible mistake that I made, I'm terribly sorry about it,” he said. “At that point in time, I was in a very dark place and I didn’t have any support whatsoever.”

“I’m pretty much begging you to give me a chance to keep going with the way I'm going in life right now.”

He apologized for all the trauma that he cause the victim with his actions.

Judge Wilson said he found the case to be a “difficult tug between the events that happened and the progress made,” and adjourned the proceedings.

Thorsen will return to hear his sentence at a later date.

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