A young man with a violent criminal past was sentenced to house arrest on Tuesday despite pleading guilty to yet another assault as well as uttering threats and theft under $5,000.
Jason Wolfe, 24, has changed the course of his life since serving a hellish jail sentence, said defence attorney Sheldon Tate.
Wolfe's past convictions include stabbing a teen in May 2011 and assault in an October 2011 drug enforcement incident that involved holding a kitten hostage.
He was released from jail in August of this year. He returned to court this week to face three charges for an incident that occurred last January.
The incident seemed to repeat a pattern — a seemingly innocent interaction escalates and ends in violence when Wolfe feels slighted.
Wolfe was visiting a friend in North Kamloops last January and, while doing drugs, struck up a conversation with the resident's friend, Robert Hildebrand.
Later on, Wolfe returned to the home to confront Hildebrand, saying he felt disrespected. He insisted Hildebrand pay a "tax" for his slight.
Hildebrand handed over cash but it wasn't enough. After further arguing that involved Hildebrand's girlfriend, Hildebrand's mother retrieved cash from an ATM.
Wolfe left with $300 but that didn't keep him quiet. He texted Hildebrand's girlfriend several times, who responded by calling him a "goof" — an insult deemed intolerable in a prison setting.
Wolfe said he'd kill her if she repeated the insult.
Crown lawyer Will Burrows agreed to drop previous charges of extortion and unlawful confinement in return for the guilty pleas.
The defence and Crown made a joint submission to Justice Hope Hyslop for a two-year sentence involving house arrest.
The reason for the conditional sentence, said Burrows, is that Wolfe had a wake-up call while serving his previous sentence.
He'd been beaten by other inmates "from time to time," said Burrows.
Defence lawyer Sheldon Tate said the beatings landed Wolfe in hospital. They were delivered by Wolfe's acquaintances and happened because he refused to co-operate in their "subterfuge."
Wolfe told Tate he wouldn't live through another incarceration and the experience started him on the right path.
Upon his release, Wolfe moved to his sister and brother-in-law's horse ranch and has since been working for room and board.
He intends to take the training needed to get a job in the oil patch.
He's also attended five counselling sessions, learning anger management techniques that have proven helpful, said Tate.
His counsellor submitted a letter of endorsement to the court. She said that the death of Wolfe's father and other family tragedies contributed to his "self-medicating" with drugs and alcohol.
Hyslop agreed to the sentencing recommendation put before her, saying Wolfe was otherwise a "candidate for incarceration."
She was swayed by family members who were in the court.
"If not for the support of your family, I'd be putting you in jail," she said.
Wolfe was given a two-year conditional sentence, with the first year under house arrest and the second year subject to a night time curfew.