Teen convicted of manslaughter in fatal stabbing

Youth who killed Surrey dad Sam McGowan will be sentenced later this year.

Sam McGowan was stabbed to death in 2009. A jury found the teen who killed him guilty of manslaughter this week.

A 16-year-old has been found guilty of manslaughter in the killing of a Surrey man nearly two years ago.

The teen, who under the Youth Criminal Justice Act cannot be identified publicly, was initially charged with two counts of robbery and second-degree murder in the killing of Surrey’s Sam McGowan.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to the two robbery charges, and on Wednesday, a New Westminster Supreme Court jury delivered a not guilty verdict on the second-degree murder charge, but found him guilty of manslaughter.

On Aug. 5, 2009, the teen and a friend committed two robberies, stealing cell phones from two other teens, one of them the son of McGowan.

A group of men gave chase, and 42-year-old McGowan found the teen under a porch.

Defence alleged the boy feared for his life. The teen, who was 14 at the time of the incident, plunged a knife into McGowan’s chest, penetrating his sternum and killing him.

According to defence lawyer David Tarnow, like the rest of the adults, McGowan had been yelling “You’re f___ing dead.”

The teen, Tarnow said, had no choice but to defend himself.

“Ultimately, he did what he did in order to survive,” he told the jury. “The streets of Surrey can be very tough.”

Michelle Proulx, McGowan’s girlfriend, said at the outset of the trial that his death is only getting more difficult as time passes.

“Everybody tells you it gets better with time,” Proulx said. “It’s not true – you adjust.”

“It’s been a long wait. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep,” she said, adding even when she does manage to get rest, she has nightmares.

A sentencing trial is scheduled for Oct. 7-8.