Father tells B.C. court drunk-driving son who killed Mountie 'not a monster'
Const. Sarah Beckett is shown in an undated handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP)
Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, July 7, 2017 4:38AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 7, 2017 9:44PM EDT
COLWOOD, B.C. -- A man who was drunk and speeding when he ran into a police cruiser, killing an RCMP officer, says he would take her place if he could.
Kenneth Fenton told a sentencing hearing Friday that his selfish and irresponsible actions resulted in the death of Const. Sarah Beckett.
"I'm heartbroken for the pain I've caused to Sarah's family," Fenton told B.C. provincial court.
"I fully accept the responsibility for what I've done and accept the punishment I deserve today in this courtroom."
Fenton pleaded guilty in May to impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.
"I never wanted to hurt anyone or leave children and a loving husband without a wife and a mother," he said. "From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry for this tragedy."
The court has heard Fenton, 29, had three times the legal blood-alcohol limit in his system when he ran a red light and hit Beckett's cruiser broadside in a suburb of Victoria in April 2016. The speed his truck was going was estimated at up to 90 kilometres per hour in a 50 km-h zone.
Fenton's lawyer Dale Marshall submitted 33 character reference letters on his client's behalf.
"The tragedy has affected many, many good and innocent people," Marshall said, adding Fenton comes from a solid family and is taking responsibility for his actions.
His father, Ken Fenton, told the court his son is "not a monster" and will deal with the tragedy for the rest of his life.
In a letter submitted to the court he said his son, who is also known as Jacob, has a three-year-old boy.
"Jacob is a loving father, son and brother."
He said his family's grief cannot compare with the pain and suffering that Beckett's family has endured since her death.
Kenneth Fenton's mother, Marilyn Fenton, said in a letter that the death of Beckett, a married mother of two young boys, was heartbreaking.
"We send our deepest condolences and prayers daily," she said.
Marshall told the court the stigma of the tragedy has also had an impact on Fenton's parents, who have endured name calling, spitting and vandalism at their local business.
Fenton was verbally attacked in the parking lot of the courthouse after his appearance last month, he said, and one man suggested that Fenton should kill himself.
The Crown has asked for a three- to five-year sentence for Fenton, while his defence says a three-year sentence would be more appropriate. The Crown has also asked that Fenton be prohibited from driving for between eight to 10 years, while the defence says the prohibition should be five years, starting at the time he's sentenced.
Crown attorney Tim Stokes said Fenton's remorse is a mitigating factor in his sentencing but the court must consider he originally denied drinking the day of the crash and did not immediately admit he has an issue with alcohol.
"We know that's clearly wrong," said Stokes. "There's a question to Mr. Fenton's credibility. He clearly does have a struggle with alcohol."
Fenton said in his statement he is no longer drinking, has been receiving counselling and he's hoping to become a better person.
Beckett had recently returned to the West Shore RCMP detachment from maternity leave when she was killed.
Her husband, Brad Aschenbrenner, told court last month that he lost the love of his life and the mother of their young sons, Lucas and Emmett.
The hardest thing after his wife's death was telling six-year-old Lucas "mommy wasn't coming home," Aschenbrenner said.
His youngest son was two when his mother died and "will have no memory of her at all," he told the court in his victim impact statement.
Fenton is scheduled to be sentenced next Friday.