Kitimat man gets life sentence for murder

A Kitimat man convicted of second degree murder will get 12 years before a chance at parole.

A Kitimat man convicted of second degree murder for a stabbing three years ago will spend 12 years behind bars before having any chance for parole on his life sentence.

A jury found Robert David Purchase, 33, guilty June 11 for the stabbing death of Arkadiusz Rejczak from a confrontation November 2009 between the two on Rejczak’s driveway.

Second degree murder carries an automatic life sentence so issue to decide at sentencing was how long he would have to wait until he could apply for parole – the minimum is 10 years.

“Today Mr. Purchase expressed remorse for the death of Mr. Rejczak. I have no reason to doubt he’s genuinely sorry for what happened,” said Mister Justice James Williams Oct. 29.

“I certainly hope, Mr. Purchase, you’re 33, your life is not over by a long shot. I certainly hope you can find a way to be the man you should be.”

Rejczak’s family, his sister, mother and father, read their victim impact statements in court before crown and defence gave their sentencing submissions.

His sister spoke of how she still misses her brother and how it still feels like he had been murdered yesterday even though it’s been three years and how her daughter will never know him.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 8, 2010, Purchase and Rejczak, who were acquaintances, saw each other at a local bar, the court heard before sentencing.

A woman who was out with Rejczak had been in a relationship with Purchase and he and her were not permitted to have contact with each other, court heard.

Purchase’s presence at the bar was a breach of his curfew that he was under at that time, court heard.

He text messaged the woman while both were in the bar, court heard.

“Nothing happened at the bar but there were angry feelings taking root,” said Williams, referring to Purchase and Rejczak.

The woman and others went to Rejczak’s residence and Purchase went home but continued to text the woman and then texted Rejczak, in what became an almost frenetic conversation between the two, court heard.

The two grew more belligerent, resulting in both telling the other how tough they were, court heard.

The conclusion was each threatened the other, court heard.

At some point, Purchase called the police to report he was being harassed by the woman and there might have been some mention of Rejczak as well, court heard.

The police dispatcher told Purchase very pointedly and clearly not to do anything, not to do anything stupid and to stay at home, but instead of taking that advice, Purchase grew more and more angry and at 7 a.m. when his curfew ended, he got into his vehicle and went to Rejczak’s home, court heard.

He texted Rejczak saying he was there and Rejczak came outside with a baseball bat, court heard.

There were no witnesses to see what happened but apparently Purchase had armed himself with a knife and was able to disarm Rejczak, court heard.

Purchase then stabbed him approximately 17 times – some wounds were to vital areas in the chest and abdomen, including four stab wounds to the heart, liver and lungs and the fight ended very quickly, court heard.

Purchase left, Rejczak went to the ground, others came out and called ambulance, who took him to hospital where he died, court heard.

Kitimat RCMP were called to a residence on Angle St. at 7:15 a.m. November 8, 2009 where a 29-year-old man was found in a driveway, taken to hospital and passed away there, said police at that time.

Police said Purchase was seen at the scene and began looking for him, said police.

They set up roadblocks and said they believed Purchase had left the Kitimat area.

Purchase was described as being “armed and unstable,” and officers warned people not to approach Purchase and to call 911 instead.

Police later arrested Purchase in Terrace.

“The jury was invited to find that Mr. Purchase had acted in self-defence but clearly they did not find that to be the case,” said Williams.

Williams noted that Purchase had a significant criminal record dating back to 1988 – what made it significant was that except for two offences, the others were all for personal violence and assault, assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, uttering threats, harassment, sexual interference or failure to comply, court heard.

Prosecutor Claire Ducluzeau asked for parole ineligibility for 13 to 15 years while defence lawyer Terry La Liberte urged court to leave it at 10 years.

“One thing I wish to make clear: whether [the sentence is] good or bad isn’t gauged by the number of years,” said Williams.

“It’s not a matter of [being] the court’s responsibility to exact vengeance for those who feel aggrieved.

“The sentence won’t bring Mr. Rejczak back to life and probably won’t enable [his family] to sleep better tonight,” he said.

Purchase must also submit a DNA sample to the national registry and is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms for life.

– Written by Margaret Speirs, Terrace Standard

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