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Shotgun incident leads to jail term

A Cherryville man will spend almost 30 months of new time in jail after he was sentenced for what his lawyer called “an extreme error in judgment.”

Judge L. Wyatt agreed with a joint submission by Crown counsel Shelley Meldrum and defence lawyer Glenn Verdurmen in the matter of Travis Keath Alois Blaeser, 25.

Blaeser had pleaded guilty to four counts including reckless discharge of a firearm, dangerous operation  of a motor vehicle and two breaches of probation  relating to an incident that began at a Cherryville home on May 11, 2013.

Court heard how, on that morning, Blaeser and his girlfriend – the mother of his two-month-old child – had an argument and Blaeser left to go to a friend’s place.

It was there, the court heard, that Blaeser broke one of his conditions from a prior charge of not consuming alcohol by drinking beer.

He returned home early in the evening and continued the argument with his girlfriend, who then  called a friend to come pick her up at a Cherryville residence. The friend did, and brought her two-year-old daughter with her.

When the friend arrived, Blaeser had come out of the house with a shotgun.

There is some disagreement, the court heard, as to whether or not Blaeser pointed a shotgun at the two women. He did, however, shoot out a tire on the friend’s vehicle. There is also disagreement as to whether the friend’s two-year-old was out of the vehicle when Blaeser pulled the trigger.

The friend managed to drive her vehicle with the shot-out tire to a home and call police, who ended up in a pursuit of Blaeser.

The chase was called off after Blaeser turned onto a steep rural road. It was on that road that his vehicle ran out of gas. Blaeser was arrested peacefully at the vehicle the following morning. A shotgun was recovered at the scene.

Crown and defence asked for the mandatory statutory minimum sentence of four years for the reckless discharge of a firearms charge, and Wyatt agreed, taking into account Blaeser’s lack of a serious criminal record, a victim impact statement from Blaeser’s then-girlfriend, letters of support for his character and for showing genuine remorse for his actions.

“He did plead guilty, he has his family supporting him, he has a minimal criminal record (one assault case for which he was on probation at the time of the Cherryville incident and an excessive speeding charge), the opportunity for him to work seems likely upon his release and he expressed remorse,” said Wyatt in passing her sentence.

“However, this was a violent incident. It was done in the presence of young children, there was a police chase and there were breaches of his conditions.”

Wyatt agreed to the joint submission to give Blaeser a 1.5-to-1 credit for time already served. He’s been in custody since his arrest the next day, May 12, 2013, for a total of 375 days. Blaeser was given credit for 563 days already served so his new jail time equates to 897 days, or just shy of 30 months.

Wyatt gave Blaeser three months, to be served  concurrent with the first charge, for the dangerous driving charge along with an 18-month driving prohibition upon his release from jail.

He was given 30 days concurrent for each of the breach charges, a lifetime firearms prohibition and the gun used in the incident has been ordered forfeited.

Blaeser must also provide a DNA sample.

He declined to say anything to the court when offered a chance by Wyatt.

 

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