A man charged in the 2015 shooting death of a co-worker in a Maple Ridge church parking lot has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 14 years.
Randy William Scott, 33, was convicted earlier this year in the second-degree murder of Peter Bender. Both worked at a store in Pitt Meadows and Scott had a previous relationship with the woman Bender was dating, a fellow employee.
Scott was sentenced May 9 in New Westminster Supreme Court.
In her reasons for sentencing, Madam Justice J. Ker described the circumstances of the Dec. 19, 2015 shooting. She said that Scott was “distraught, jealous and angry” over the loss of his relationship with the woman. The woman had told him she didn’t want to be romantically involved and just wanted to be friends.
In her previous reasons for judgment, Ker described arguing and fighting between the two the previous night, with Scott angry over the woman’s relationship with the other man. Scott returned home and tried to go to sleep, but texts from Bender also angered him.
According to Ker’s reasons for judgment, early on the morning of Dec. 19, Scott removed a rifle and shotgun from a gun safe in his home, removed the trigger locks, and put the weapons into his car. Scott drove to a location and test fired the rifle, then drove to the woman’s residence.
“When he saw Mr. Bender parked across the street from her residence, he became enraged,” Ker said in her reasons for sentencing.
She said Scott then blocked in Bender’s vehicle with his own, took the 12-gauge pump action shotgun from the trunk and shot Bender four times in the head, “killing him instantly.”
The justice said mild intoxication, despondency over the relationship and gambling, and being surprised by the presence of Bender explained how the incident happened, but didn’t excuse it. She said that “consistent with the diagnosis of an adjustment disorder and depressed mood, Mr. Scott experienced a disproportionate reaction,” to the events.
Bender, 33, a single father of two young girls, was shot in the parking lot of Haney Presbyterian Church on 216th Street, just north of Lougheed Highway. A witness at the time described hearing four or five shots, then seeing a car drive away at normal speed.
Ker noted that the minimum mandatory sentence is life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 10 years. She added that the period of parole was the only issue to be decided.
She ruled that Scott should serve 14 years in jail before being considered for parole, noting that the aggravating factors involved a firearm and a domestic relationship.
The justice noted that Scott never denied responsibility for the “horrific and tragic offence,” and that he didn’t have a criminal record. Scott also turned himself in to authorities two months later.
But she accepted that Scott was distraught over a gambling problem and feelings of rejection from the woman who was dating Bender, who was 29 at the time.
She also noted that Scott had been in a “significant” motor vehicle accident in 2012, and that he suffered ongoing pain and couldn’t work for more than a year. She also noted that when he was about three years old, he said asthma medication put him into rages.
The justice also noted that 13 people provided letters for Scott, saying that the offence was completely out of character.
“They support him and will continue to support him as he serves his sentence and eventually re-transitions into the community.”
Ker, though, said “the most concerning aspect of Mr. Scott’s background and character is his inability to form healthy relationships with women. More specifically, his inability to respect boundaries and to accept rejection. Mr. Scott’s … inability to accept that she only wanted a platonic relationship with him is a troubling feature of his personality.”
The justice also noted said that Bender’s death has “severely impacted his family,” noting that his ex-wife has said the two children are struggling.
“They have prolonged grief and bouts of unexplained anger. Both children include a request on Christmas wish lists that Santa bring back their father,” the justice said.