Christmas party shooter convicted of 2nd degree murder
Eric Allen Kirkpatrick has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting of his former boss at a Christmas party two years ago.
The TallGrass Distribution office party was just beginning when Kirkpatrick walked in with a loaded shotgun on Dec. 12, 2008, one day after losing his job in the company's warehouse.
Most of the staff fled the building; CEO Benjamin David Banky didn't make it out.
On Sunday, after one day of deliberations, a jury of seven women and four men delivered their verdict. They were unanimous in their decision, but chose not to make a recommendation on when Kirkpatrick should be eligible for parole.
The 63-year-old will be given an automatic life sentence.
Crown counsel had pushed for a first-degree murder conviction while the defence argued Kirkpatrick was only guilty of manslaughter, citing his mental state and history of epilepsy as factors.
Banky's widow Linda Rae spoke to reporters after the verdict was announced, saying she was eager to put the trial behind her. "I'm just glad we won't have to go through this anymore and we're not going to have to see the accused anymore," she said.
Rae said she was somewhat disappointed with the outcome, but said "the jury heard everything and came to the best decision they could." She would not comment on the epilepsy defence.
"The main message here I don't think is about the murder, it's the loss of a really great man and a great person that so many people miss and love."
Kirkpatrick's lawyer Richard Fowler said it was too soon to comment on whether his client would seek an appeal, and reiterated his argument that Kirkpatrick was "an ill man."
"The evidence was very clear that Mr. Kirkpatrick suffers from epilepsy," he said. "There are profound and subtle and long-term consequences of that illness. It's not the same for everybody."
"This is a trial which at every level is a human tragedy," he said. "Nobody in this world could be happy with any verdict in a trial like this."
Crown counsel Sandra Cunningham had little to say after the verdict was delivered, but told reporters she respected the jury's decision.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward