No apologies for hammer attack

Man responsible for Langley assault speaks at sentencing

Albert Jackman

Albert Jacob Jackman said he will serve his prison sentence for the 2009 sledgehammer attack that permanently disabled a Langley man with his “head held high.”

The broad-shouldered 24-year-old spoke at his sentencing hearing before a B.C. Supreme Court judge in New Westminster Tuesday.

In June, Jackman pleaded guilty on one count of aggravated assault and one count of unlawful confinement in the attack that sent 29-year-old Tyler Willock to hospital with multiple fractures.

Defence counsel Brian Coleman told the hearing that Jackman went after Willock because he was making jokes about the murder of Jackman’s friend, Kevin LeClair, a Surrey Red Scorpions associate gang member who was gunned down in a Langley strip mall.

Jackman and LeClair were very close, almost like brothers, according to a written statement filed by LeClair’s father.

Jackman, who has a tattoo of LeClair, was enraged to hear that Willock had laughed about the murder, saying it meant he wouldn’t have to pay back $40,000 he’d borrowed from the murdered man.

“He [Willock] disrespected his close friend [LeClair] whose death he [Jackman] took very, very hard,” Coleman said.

“Whatever else Albert Jackman may be, he has a strong sense of loyalty.”

Jackman tied up Willock in the bedroom of his Langley home, applied duct tape to his eyes and mouth and hit him 20 times with a sledgehammer.

The attack splattered the walls, ceiling and furniture of the bedroom with blood.

Willock suffered multiple fractures that required extensive surgery and months of rehab.

He has not fully recovered from his injuries.

Crown prosecutor Catherine Fedder called it a “brutal, protracted, cold-blooded, vicious assault on another young man.”

She is seeking a 12-year jail term.

Coleman is suggesting six.

Either way, Jackman will still be in jail once he completes his assault sentence because he is also serving a life sentence of 25 years without parole for the unrelated March 28, 2009 murder of 24-year-old Kyle Barber of Aldergrove.

At the close of the Wednesday hearing, Justice Robert Crawford  asked Jackman if he had anything to say.

Jackman stood up and expressed regret, but not for the injuries to Willock.

Jackman told the judge he came from a “wonderful family” where he was taught to protect his friends and not put them in harm’s way.

“Unfortunately, I did,” he said, an apparent reference to LeClair.

He made no direct reference to Willock’s injuries, saying “I will continue to do my time with my head held high.”

Jackman’s lawyer said his client always wanted to plead guilty to the hammer attack, but was convinced to wait until after his murder trial.

Shortly after he was convicted of first-degree murder and received his automatic life sentence, Jackman pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault and one count of unlawful confinement in the Willock case.

Jackman told police that the second man charged in the sledgehammer attack, Wesley Edward Kelemen, was simply a bystander who had nothing to do with it, his lawyer said.

Kelemen, who earlier pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful confinement, was sentenced to time already served in jail since his arrest, one year and three months.

The judge is scheduled to make his ruling on Jackman’s sentence next Wednesday (July 20).