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Man who slit victim's throat in Nanaimo mall parking lot gets 7 years

A section of the mall parking lot was closed for several hours while investigators gathered evidence near the London Drugs, where the stabbing occurred, police said. (CTV News) A section of the mall parking lot was closed for several hours while investigators gathered evidence near the London Drugs, where the stabbing occurred, police said. (CTV News)
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A man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter after slitting another man’s throat in the parking lot of a mall in Nanaimo, B.C., last year has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

The court heard Sean Patterson fatally stabbed Serguei Chliakhov on Jan. 22, 2023 outside Port Place Mall. Patterson’s sentence was handed down in the B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo on June 5 and Justice Douglas W. Thompson’s reasons were published online Monday.

The crime

The judge read a summarized version of an agreed statement of facts that detail how the crime unfolded that night.

He said Chliakhov was selling drugs in the parking lot the night he was killed. Meanwhile, Patterson and another man—who had both been using methamphetamine and drinking alcohol—arrived in the area after dinner together.

Patterson went into a casino at 6:55 p.m. and was denied entry because he would not allow security to search his bag. The security guard described Patterson to police as being “aggressive and on edge” that night, and recalled hearing a clinking sound in his bag.

Then Patterson met up with Chliakhov, and the two were captured on security camera video walking down a vehicle ramp toward the mall parking lot at about 6:58 p.m. The pair disappeared out of view and four seconds later, Chliakhov is seen again, wounded, running toward the mall entrance. Patterson ran away in another direction.

“Bystanders saw Mr. Chliakhov holding his throat. He was bleeding,” the decision reads. They helped him get inside the mall and someone called 911.

Police arrived and began first aid, and paramedics had Chliakhov loaded into an ambulance at 7:07 p.m. They performed CPR en-route to hospital, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival at the emergency department.

An autopsy found a deep would across the front of Chliakhov’s neck that cut across his right vertebral artery. His cause of death was documented as a neck wound resulting in massive blood loss.

Patterson was identified early on as Chliakov’s suspected killer, and in a Feb. 2 interview with police, he confessed to the crime.

He told police “he did not plan to kill Mr. Chliakov and it was not intentional,” and that they were friends, according to the decision. The court heard Patterson bought the knife—a black and orange folding pocket knife—that day but said he didn’t intend to hurt anyone with it.

In his statement to police, which is summarized in the decision, Patterson said he was angry about being denied entry at the casino and met up with Chliakhov so the pair could buy drugs.

“While walking with Mr. Chliakhov, Mr. Patterson asked him: ‘Do you want to see my knife?’ Mr. Chliakhov said, ‘Let's see it, if you give it to me I'm going to stab you with it.’ Mr. Patterson, without thinking, struck Mr. Chliakhov with the knife,” the court heard.

Patterson said he didn’t know what to do after stabbing Chliakhov and ran away toward the train tracks, where he sat and threw the knife away. He then went home and changed his clothes before meeting up with the friend he had dinner with earlier. He kept drinking and the pair went out again.

Patterson reported he left town the day after the killing but then decided to turn himself in.

'A man who is fundamentally good'

The court heard that 38-year-old Patterson had no criminal record prior to the stabbing. “This homicide happened suddenly and it is impossible to explain, other than as an outcome of illicit drug use coinciding with access to a deadly weapon,” Thompson said.

The judge said a psychological assessment and letters from Patterson’s family and friends “paint a picture of a man who is fundamentally good, kind, and caring who has succumbed to serious substance abuse disorders.”

“It seems to have taken this tragic killing for Mr. Patterson to begin the lifelong work to get and remain clean and sober,” he continued.

Thompson named aggravating factors in the case including that Patterson used a knife and “the degree of force" with which it was used,  as well as the fact he left his victim to die. Mitigating factors listed included Patterson’s remorse and guilty plea, and his early confession to police.

However, he noted the mitigation of his early admission is to some extent limited by the fact he disposed of the knife and carried on drinking and socializing after leaving Chliakhov wounded.

Both the Crown and defence counsel recommended a seven-year sentence for Patterson, which Thompson agreed with. In addition to prison time, Patterson must give a DNA sample and was handed a 20-year prohibition for some weapons upon release, and a lifetime ban for others.

With credit for time served, Patterson will spend 1,821 days in prison, or just shy of five years.

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