By Jeff Labine
Chris Gregorchuk, convicted of manslaughter and indignity to human remains, says he’s sorry for the role he played in the death of Richard Ouimet.
Gregorchuk appeared in the Superior Court of Justice in Thunder Bay on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to manslaughter and indignity to human remains. Police charged him with second-degree murder following the death of 36-year-old Ouimet in March 2009.
In a letter of apology, Gregorchuk wrote that he felt sorry for what he had done and never intended to kill Ouimet.
“I’m sorry for what I did,” Gregorchuk said in court before receiving his 10-year jail sentence. “I’m happy with whatever judgement you may have.”
Assistant Crown attorney David Mackenzie said Gregorchuk and another man were attending a party hosted by Ouimet on March 19, 2009. Most of the guests had left by 1:30 a.m. But Gregorchuk and the other man remained.
The court heard that the other man told Gregorchuk that Ouimet had disrespected him earlier in the evening and he had to pay, he said. Ouimet had left the party and returned later.
Gregorchuk’s girlfriend told police she saw Ouimet tied up with television cords, beaten, kicked and left unconscious in the adjacent living room apartment.
“Following his arrest, (Gregorchuk) confessed to his involvement in the beating and subsequent attempt to dispose of the body,” Mackenzie said. “He told police he had grabbed and punched Ouimet.”
Instead of calling an ambulance, the court heard how Gregorchuck played a role in trying to get rid of the body by burning it.
Police later discovered a body off of highway 527 near Gull Bay. Police were able to find personal identification that belonged to Ouimet, however, police used DNA to ensure it was him.
Justice Helen Pierce sentenced Gregorchuk to 10 years in jail, a lifetime ban on all weapons and to provide a DNA sample. She awarded him a two-for-one credit for time served.
An amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada last year changed the amount of credit given to accused people for the time they spent in custody before sentencing. What was once a two-days of jail time credited for every day served became a one-day of jail time for every day served.
Defence attorney George Joseph argued that since police arrested Gregorchuk before the amendment he should still be entitled to the two-for-one credit for the 677 days he remained in custody.
Joseph said it made sense for Gregorchuk to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter because he didn’t fit the criteria for the harsher offence.
“Second-degree murder requires an element of planning and foresight,” Joseph said. “This was clearly an accident, if I can put it that way.”