Barinecutt gets minimum of 12 years

A B.C. Supreme Court justice sided with the defence in a sentencing Friday, giving convicted murderer Robert Barinecutt a minimum of 12 years in jail before he is able to apply for parole.

Crown prosecutor Chris Balison argued the 62-year-old man convicted of shooting his friend in the head and then going on a crime spree should spend at least 15 years in jail without parole.

The reduced minimum sentence upset Jamie Barrett, common-law wife of William Brent McEwen, who was killed in February of 2009.

"He should go to jail for life, with no parole," she said after leaving the courtroom.

Barinecutt was convicted by a jury last month of second-degree murder as well as robbery and kidnapping with a firearm.

He was given an automatic life sentence for the murder conviction. With time served in custody, he will be eligible for parole in slightly less than 10 years.

The jury determined Barinecutt shot and killed McEwen, firing twice, as they drove down the Yellowhead Highway in Kamloops.

Barinecutt then kidnapped a BC Hydro worker who stopped to help at the scene of the accident after McEwen's car went off the road and into a ditch. He was also convicted of robbery with a firearm, after he pointed a gun at another man in a 7-Eleven parking lot in Brocklehurst and demanded his car.

"It was a senseless or callous murder of an innocent man," said Balison.

Barinecutt's actions after killing his friend "shows the dangerousness of Mr. Barinecutt. It's an aggravating factor."

While a life sentence is mandatory in second-degree murder convictions, Barinecutt's lawyer, Ken Tessovitch, argued he should serve only 10 to 12 years in jail before becoming eligible for parole.

Supreme Court Justice Peter Rogers called Barinecutt "dangerous and impulsive."

Barinecutt has a crime record going back to 1964 and has been sentenced to a total of 19 years in jail from past convictions.

Tessovitch argued Barinecutt's age, and the fact he hasn't been convicted of a serious crime since the mid-'80s, should reduce the amount of time before becoming eligible for parole.

"Even at a 10-year sentence it means he'll be more than 71 when the term is up."

Rogers agreed, saying Barinecutt, a prospector, has led a relatively clean life for the past 25 years.

"He killed Mr. McEwen impulsively. We'll likely never know why he did it."

But his actions following "advertised his involvement to the world.

"It was not a nefarious or devious crime. . . . Mr. Barinecutt is dangerous and impulsive and lacks good judgment. (But) he's not a career criminal or a serial recidivist."

McEwen's widow said she and her common-law husband had two children together. Both were in foster care.

"This is done," she said of the sentence. "It doesn't bring him back."

Barrinecutt also received eight years each for kidnapping and robbery. While those terms will be served at the same time, they will be considered by the parole board.

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