6.5 yrs. for dragging man to death

The family and friends of Joel Reimer feel that the courts have, once again, been far too lenient with a convicted criminal.

"We're disappointed," says Terry Reimer, commenting on the sentence handed down to George Nicholas Young, after he pled guilty to Criminal Negligence Causing Death and Failing to Remain at the Scene in the New Years Day 2010 death of Joel Reimer.

"We asked Crown to have him declared a dangerous offender, and the Crown said he hadn't done enough yet."

Young has 37 previous convictions, and twice served Federal time. A criminal past described as "atrocious" in Kelowna court Thursday morning.

"How can that not be enough? I just don't know when enough is enough in this country. I don't understand it," says Reimer.

Reimer's bitterness is exacerbated by what he sees as the short sentence handed down for the killing of his only son. Joel was born March 22, 1979, which coincidentally, is also Terry's birthday.

As a result of his guilty plea, Young has been sentenced to five and half years in jail for Criminal Negligence Causing Death and one year for Failing to Remain at the Scene, less time served. The term is similar to those handed down for other convictions of a similar nature.

Since the crime occurred six weeks before Canada's new truth in sentencing law was passed in 2010, the credit for time served is doubled. That means 46 months will be subtracted from the sentence. Young will serve another 32 months in jail.

Reimer had hoped to see Young, who originally pleaded not guilty, charged with murder.

Friends of Joel echoed those sentiments. Long time friend Tamara Lepine was astonished.

"How can someone lose their life through somebody's ignorance and they only get two and a half years. It's just absolutely ridiculous. The proverbial slap on the wrist."

Ian Langstaff knew Joel since elementary school.

"There shouldn't have been (credit for) any time served at all. It should have been the full six and a half years. I'm sure nobody here is happy with today's outcome."

Asked if he thought Young got away with murder,  Ian  replied "Pretty much, considering his whole criminal past. Somehow justice will find him. What goes around comes around."

In the "agreed statement of facts" presented in court, what started out as a night of celebration on New Year's Eve, ended in tragedy when George Young ran over Joel Reimer, dragging him underneath the van he was driving for a half kilometre, killing Reimer in the process.

Reimer had arrived in Kelowna the day before to visit friends and family. He went out New Year's Eve, eventually returning to the apartment of a friend he was staying with.  George Young also showed up at same home early on the morning of January 1, 2010.

The statement said the pair had a disagreement, with Young later saying "he didn't like Reimer." A yelling match ensued, which then escalated to a fight inside the apartment.

Young then left the party, and Reimer, who was staying at the apartment, took his luggage and left about 10 minutes later.

What happened next was heard more than seen.

Witness living near the apartment, located at Pandosy Street and Lake Avenue, reported hearing a loud thud, followed by screaming and what was described as an agonizing moan.


One witness was awake at 5:00 a.m. that morning. When she heard the noise, she went to her balcony in time to see the van Young was driving weaving all over the road as it headed west. She promptly called 9-1-1.

RCMP would later canvass the neighbourhood, hearing a similar story. What was remarkable to investigators was the volume. Witnesses reported being awoken by the noise and hearing screams of "stop stop stop" through closed windows and doors.

The van then headed up either Water or Abbott Street, turned on to Park Avenue, struck a curb,and came to a rest off the road before silence finally settled on the neighbourhood.

The van was found with the door open, motor running and keys in the ignition and Reimer mortally wounded under the van. Young had fled the scene.

The cause of death officially was blood loss, but Reimer suffered numerous injuries after being dragged underneath the van and then was fatally crushed when the van jumped the curb.

By the time police had linked Young to the crime, he had fled the province. He would be arrested a week later riding a bus near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border and has been in custody ever since.

"There is no forgiveness in my heart for that man. He's gonna be out shortly and he could do it to somebody else's family like he did to ours," says Reimer, doubting Young's sincerity.  "Even the apology. He's had two years to think up a good excuse for why he killed our son."

Joel's Mother Shelly paid a tearful tribute to her son.

"My Joel is a hugger, loved life, and did lots with us." At that point she could say no more.

Reimer also leaves behind a 13 year-old daughter, who was described as being "in great pain" since the death of her father.


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