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Man sentenced in stabbing death of 'defenceless' victim in New Westminster

New Westminster homicide
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One of two brothers who "savagely attacked" a man in New Westminster in has been sentenced after pleading guilty to manslaughter, according to a recent court decision.

Curtis Crossley, along with his brother Ryan, was charged with second-degree murder in 2021. The victim, Robert Powshuk died in hospital soon after walking into a downtown New Westminster coffee shop "bleeding heavily," police said at the time.

In a decision handed down last month, Justice Andrew Mayer sentenced Curtis to nine-and a-half years for his "secondary role" in the killing.

An agreed upon statement of facts describes what unfolded on the morning of Nov. 19, 2021 – much of which was captured on surveillance video.

The victim died from stab wounds, all of which were inflicted by Ryan. However, both brothers were brandishing knives and were involved in the deadly attack, the judge said.

"Curtis Crossley did nothing to stop Ryan Crossley, but rather participated in the assault, including kicking Mr. Powshuk as he lay on the ground," the judge wrote, describing the aggravating factors in the case.

"Mr. Powshuk was defenceless throughout this attack. After the attack, Curtis Crossley sprayed Mr. Powshuk in the face with bear spray as he lay on the ground."

Curtis also helped his brother clean up the scene and threw his own knife into the Fraser River after the pair fled, the judge noted.

The sentencing decision does not say what motivated the stabbing or how the Crossleys knew Powshuk but police described the killing as "targeted."

Another aggravating factor in the case was Curtis' criminal history, which includes a previous conviction for manslaughter related to a home invasion he perpetrated when he was 18.

Mitigating factors in the case included Curtis' guilty plea, his cognitive deficits, and his mental illness and substance abuse.

After receiving credit for time served, Curtis will spend six years and 185 days in prison.

Ryan is still facing a murder charge and has been ordered to stand trial, according to publicly available court records.

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