Verdict expected today for youths accused of killing South Surrey mechanic

This photo of murder victim Paul Prestbakmo was taken on a recent birthday, not far from where he was found with fatal wounds in August 2019. (Cory Brideau photo)
Friends and family of murder victim Paul Prestbakmo wore memorial masks outside Surrey Provincial Court Jan. 14, 2021. (From left) Family friend Tyler Whitley, sister Angela Prestbakmo, childhood friend Jimmy Slater, brother Steve Prestbakmo, Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Roxanne Charles and sister Liz Prestbakmo. (File photo)
A memorial to Paul Prestbakmo (inset) grew quickly on the median adjacent to where he died, after suffering stab wounds in the early hours of Aug. 16. (File photo/Facebook photo)
Investigators at the scene where South Surrey resident Paul Prestbakmo died of stab wounds early Aug. 16, 2019. Police confirmed an assault hours earlier on an elderly White Rock man and Prestbakmo's death were linked. (File photo)
Angela Prestbakmo, Paul Prestbakmo's sister, listens to drumming outside Surrey Provincial Court Monday on the first day of trial. (File photo)

The two youths accused of killing South Surrey mechanic Paul Prestbakmo are to learn today (May 18) if they will be convicted in the case.

READ MORE: Teens charged in stabbing death of South Surrey man in strip mall parking lot

Judge Robert Hamilton is to render his verdict this morning in Surrey Provincial Court.

Prestbakmo’s friends and family members plan to gather outside of the courthouse prior to the decision, in a show of support and love.

Prestbakmo died just before 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 16, 2019. Over the course of the trial – which got underway in January and concluded on March 8 – Hamilton heard that the 45-year-old was stabbed 42 times during an altercation in a commercial parking lot at the southwest corner of 18 Avenue and 152 Street.

He had stepped outside to take out some garbage and have a cigarette.

Multiple witnesses gave evidence, including that Prestbakmo was stabbed in the chest, abdomen, back, neck and left arm during the attack, and, that it occurred just a few hours after a White Rock senior suffered injuries consistent with an assault.

READ MORE: Trial underway in 2019 murder of South Surrey mechanic Paul Prestbakmo

Charges of second-degree murder were announced against two youths – aged 15 and 16 at the time – a month after Prestbakmo’s death. Charges of aggravated assault in connection with the senior’s injuries were announced against the same teens a month after that, in October 2019.

Due to their ages, the identities of the accused are protected by a publication ban.

During closing submissions, Crown counsel described the stabbing of Prestbakmo as “intense and ferocious,” and said those who inflicted the wounds knew that they could cause death, or injuries that could lead to death. The accused, said Louise Kenworthy, were co-perpetrators in both incidents and should be held equally responsible.

Defence counsel submitted that evidence did not prove who inflicted the wounds that caused Prestbakmo’s death and that the one accused who confessed to the crime – claiming it was gang-related – was simply not believable.

Kevin Westell told Hamilton that his client’s “conflicting, fantastical” statements as to why he and another teen attacked Prestbakmo “should cause your honour to really pause before accepting any of the evidence that comes out of my client’s mouth.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
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