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Crown seeking 5-year sentence for former university security guard convicted of manslaughter

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The Crown is seeking a five-year prison sentence for a former security guard at Langley’s Trinity Western University.

Last month, Supreme Court Justice Catherine Murray found 55-year-old Jack Hutchison guilty of manslaughter in relation to an incident with a man on the university’s campus.

The incident happened on Sept. 30, 2020, when the campus was under tight restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Murray’s reasons for judgement, a man described as tall and wearing all black, later identified as 30-year-old Howard Glen Hill, was seen wandering through student residences and rifling through people’s rooms.

The court heard that Hill was schizophrenic, and hadn’t taken his medication for months.

Calls were made to Hutchison, the lone security guard that day.

Eventually, he was able to locate Hill, who tried to run away. Hutchison was able to track him down, leading to a physical altercation where the two men traded blows.

Hutchison, who the court heard had previous martial arts training, was able to get Hill in a headlock.

“Mr. Hutchison placed Mr. Hill in a neck restraint and held him there until police arrived. When police finally got there, Mr. Hill was unconscious,” said Murray.

Hill was taken to the hospital, but was eventually taken off life support a few days later.

“I will never forget the wail of anguish that came from his father when we made that final drive to the hospital,” said Hill’s mother Kimberly Van Dijk during her victim impact statement in court Thursday.

“No one should ever have to see their son hooked up to so many machines just so he could breathe,” she said. “No one should ever have to tell the doctors to take their son off life support.”

Van Dijk described her son as kind and caring, and someone who had faced serious adversity.

“Glen was strong, he was resilient,” she said. “He faced more challenges in his life than most people could handle."

Howard Glen Hill died after Trinity Western University security guard Jack Hutchison placed him in a headlock.

Murray said that while she could accept that Hutchison was acting in defense of the students and himself, his use of force eventually became unnecessary.

“Having concluded that after Mr. Hill stopped moving, there were no longer reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Hill was a danger to the safety of Mr. Hutchison or anyone else and that the force used was excessive, I find that the defence of self-defence and defence of others does not apply,” said Murray.

Murray highlighted that a forensic pathologist testified that in his opinion, hill died from the neck restraint.

“Prolonged pressure on vital blood vessels on the right side of Mr. Hill’s neck cut off blood flow to Mr. Hill’s brain causing brain damage, unconsciousness and ultimately his death,” the judge said.

Hill’s family says they’ve never received any form of apology from the university.

A tearful Hutchison addressed Hill’s family in court, offering condolences, but stopping short of an apology.

His lawyer Paul McMurray says his previously clean criminal record and First Nations heritage should be seen as mitigating factors, adding he doesn’t feel his client should go to jail.

McMurray suggested either a suspended sentence or a conditional sentence of two-years less a day.

Murray is expected to sentence Hutchison on May 17. 

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