Family members of Corey Bennett – from left

13-year sentence for shooting death of South Surrey man

Donald James Chad's lengthy criminal record was taken into account when sentenced to another 10 years for killing Corey Bennett,

The man responsible for the shooting death of Corey Bennett in South Surrey two years ago is to spend another 10 years in jail for the crime.

And while family members of the victim said outside court they would have liked to see a longer sentence imposed on Donald James Chad Jr., they agreed it was “well-thought-out.”

“Given the evidence and preliminary trial… I think the judge did a good job,” Bennett’s sister, Jamie England, said Friday.

Bennett’s daughter, Kaitlyn Denton, said it was “a little bit more reassuring” to know Chad – who she saw for the first time in court that day – was sentenced.

Bennett’s cousin, Adelle Rose Moreno, said it “helps us… go on with our lives and try to heal now.”

“It’s like an open wound that’s been there for the past two years.”

In deciding on the sentence, Judge James Jardine said he kept in mind that Chad didn’t intentionally pull the trigger, as well as that he entered a guilty plea in the case and issued a “sincere… insightful” apology to Bennett’s family.

But Jardine said he couldn’t ignore that Chad, now 32, had only recently been paroled on the night he went to Bennett’s home with a plan to “retaliate, intimidate, extort, rob and humiliate” him.

Nor could he discount that Chad continued to engage in high-risk crime from the moment the gun went off until his arrest nearly two weeks later.

“His record and his conduct demonstrates that he continues to be a danger in the community,” Jardine said Friday morning in Surrey Provincial Court.

“His previous conviction and sentence had not deterred him.”

Bennett, 44, died on Nov. 9, 2013 after a semi-automatic rifle Chad was poking him with went off during a struggle at Bennett’s home in the 2600-block of King George Boulevard.

The court heard earlier this month, during sentencing submissions, that Chad had struggled with recurring substance-abuse issues since he was a teenager, and in the months leading up to Bennett’s death, relapsed.

On the night Bennett was killed, Chad had gone to the house – described as a focal point for illicit drugs – with two other men and a concealed, loaded rifle. He’d been there twice before and, on the latter visit, had been ejected at Bennett’s request by “muscle” with baseball bats.

Chad got into the house this time using “trickery”, forced his way into Bennett’s bedroom, knocked another visitor over, jumped on Bennett’s bed where he was sleeping, and prodded him with the rifle, Jardine recounted from the submissions.

After the gun went off, Chad and another male searched the bedroom and Bennett, removed a bag that had been strapped across Bennett’s body and left.

Bennett was later pronounced dead at Peace Arch Hospital.

Following police surveillance, Chad was arrested on Nov. 22 at a gas station in Surrey. He was carrying Canadian and Chinese currency and a loaded, prohibited revolver, and was wearing a kevlar vest.

Jardine said the case “provided a glimpse into the sordid, squalid” lifestyle that led to Bennett’s death.

The judge said it was difficult to reconcile family members’ descriptions of Bennett “with the man who was residing in the the crack house, acting in the role of a drug trafficker… highlighting the insidious aspect of addiction and hard drugs in our community.”

“That does not mean he deserves to die,” Jardine said.

England said outside court that she was disappointed her brother had been painted as a drug trafficker.

“He was not this crack-shack lord, and he was not the supplier,” she said, adding homicide investigators had told her they were “astounded” by the number of witnesses who had come forward to share details of Bennett as “an amazing person” who tried to help others who were dealing with addiction.

“I don’t think any of that came out (in the court proceedings),” England said.

Denton, 23, described her dad as “loving, caring… really funny,” but said his addiction did affect how much time they spent together.

“Because of the life that he led, he decided to keep us somewhat out of that,” she said.

Denton travelled from Kamloops with her six-month-old daughter and fiancé to attend the proceedings.

In imposing sentence, Jardine addressed Bennett’s family – about a dozen attended in all, including his father.

“I want the Bennetts to know there is nothing… which in anyway is going to fix the pain, or your loss or your missing your son,” he said.

In addition to a nine-year term for manslaughter, Jardine sentenced Chad to a consecutive four-year term for possession of a loaded firearm, in connection with the weapon seized during his arrest. (The rifle used the night Bennett died was never recovered.)

The judge calculated 1,103 days credit for time served, leaving 10 years and 18 days remaining in the term.

Acknowledging the sentence is lengthy – and noting “that is appropriate” – Jardine addressed Chad and expressed a belief that he could still turn his life around.

“This is truly a crossroads for you,” Jardine said. “This is the time. You’re capable of reforming – it’s up to you. Good luck.”

Moreno said that her family had never given up hope that Bennett could change his life.

“We believe everybody has the opportunity for reform – even Mr. Chad,” she said outside court.

Jardine also imposed a lifetime ban on Chad, prohibiting him from possessing any weapons or ammunition – it is the third such ban Chad has received over the years – and ordered him to provide a DNA sample and forfeit the Canadian cash, revolver and vest seized during his arrest.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A past extreme weather response shelter set up for women inside Surrey’s Nightshift Street Ministries. (Photo: Chris Paul/nightshiftministries.org)
Homeless people in Surrey face ‘shocking and scary’ scenario this winter

Last winter there were nine Extreme Weather Response shelters in all of Surrey and White Rock. So far, during this pandemic, there are only five lined up for the coming winter

File photo
Surrey Mounties seeking dash-cam footage of Whalley road rage fight

Two men are alleged to have stabbed one another

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Fleetwood teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read