Ten years for sledgehammer attack

Langley man slid into life of crime, judge says

Tyler Willock did not testify at the trial of the man who attacked him with a sledgehammer.

Nor did he file a victim impact statement after 24-year-old Albert Jacob Jackman pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault and one count of unlawful confinement.

It appears Willock has refused to say anything to any law enforcement authority about the 2009 attack that splattered the walls and furniture of his Langley bedroom with blood.

So when it came time to sentence Jackman, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Crawford could only guess at the physical and emotional after effects of the beating that broke practically every major bone in Willock’s body.

“I don’t know anything about the victim other than the pictures [of his injuries] entered into evidence,” Crawford observed at the Thursday morning sentencing in New Westminster.

“The victim has not talked here.”

Justice Crawford also lacked information about the after effects of a brutal beating Jackman suffered at the hands of four men with pipes when he was 16 and living in Surrey with his family.

There was, the judge said, a reference to Jackman having difficulty with impulse control after the attack, but no other evidence was presented.

Jackman’s family moved away from Surrey to Langley, thinking it would be a better place for him, the judge said.

But around the time Jackman turned 19, he began to “slide from a good family into lawlessness,” getting involved with what the judge described as “the criminal element in the Valley.”

Jackman also became friends with Kevin LeClair, a Surrey resident who had also drifted into the gang lifestyle.

They were “almost like brothers,” according to a written statement filed by LeClair’s father.

“They were very good friends, but they were living a lawless life,” Crawford said.

Both men were said by police to be associates of the Red Scorpions gang.

When LeClair was gunned down in a Langley strip mall in 2009, a grief-stricken Jackman was outraged to hear that Willock had made a joke about it.

Jackman, who has a tattoo of LeClair, was told 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.

Jackman and another man went to Willock’s home in Langley, where Jackman tied up Willock in the bedroom, 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.

Judge Crawford agreed with the defence that the attack was not gang-related.

“This was a personal matter of simple revenge,” Crawford said.

Letters from friends and family were filed by the defence that portrayed Jackman as a person from a good family who was normally “loyal, gentle and loving,” “thoughtful of others”  and “trustworthy.”

The prosecution wanted a 12-year sentence, while the defence wanted six.

The question of whether Jackman should get credit for time spent in jail since his arrest was complicated by the fact that he was arrested for two crimes, the sledgehammer attack and an unrelated murder.

He was earlier convicted of the murder and the two years he spent in jail awaiting a verdict was deducted from his sentence of 25 years with no eligibility for parole.

Applying the same time served to his assault would amount to “double credit,” the prosecutor complained.

The defence said the cases were separate, so credit should be applied to both.

The judge agreed with the defence and gave Jackman 10 years for aggravated assault and five years for unlawful confinement, less the two years spent in jail awaiting trial.

The time will be served concurrently or at the same time, meaning Jackman will still have several years to go on his murder sentence when he’s finished serving time for the assault.

As he left the courtroom, Jackman turned and nodded at his family and blew them a kiss.