A man described as meek, mild-mannered and easily manipulated has been sentenced to seven years in prison for “premeditated acts of horrific violence.”
Following word of his penalty – imposed by Surrey Provincial Court Judge Paul Dohm Thursday in connection with an aggravated assault two years ago at a White Rock home – Bradley Wade Charters gave his mom a long hug, shook his stepdad’s hand, then turned so a sheriff could place him in handcuffs.
Outside court, friends and family who listened to Dohm’s reasons for sentence said the judge “sent a little boy to jail.”
“He’s not going to get help in prison,” said one man who said he has known Charters for 24 years.
The crime, the man noted, “is not him (Charters) at all.”
Charters, 47, pleaded guilty in January to aggravated assault. Originally charged with attempted murder, he was arrested the morning after police were alerted to a bloody scene at a home in the 15800-block of Goggs Avenue.
Officers responding to a 911 call on May 1, 2010, arrived to hear a plea of, “help me, I’m dying,” from behind the home’s locked front door. Inside, they found a man lying in the unlit foyer, bleeding from multiple stab wounds.
From what they saw, police assumed the victim was going to die, Dohm recalled of evidence at a sentencing hearing June 4. Prosecutor Liane O’Grady had told Dohm how the incident had resulted from Charters being convinced by his girlfriend – identified only as C.W. – to carry out an attack on her ex-husband.
While the woman’s motive for urging the attack remains unclear – she died the following February from an apparent self-inflicted drug overdose and Charters never told police specifically what drove him to lash out – Dohm said this week that it is clear that Charters intended to more than just injure the victim.
The attack was planned and the wounds were inflicted with a large hunting knife, “all in areas of the body where death could be expected to result,” Dohm said.
As well, after the attack, no attempt was made to get medical attention for the still-conscious victim – who recalled yelling at C.W. and Charters “to come down, finish him off and not leave him in pain” – and evidence indicated Charters locked the home’s front door afterward, to delay any help that may arrive.
The accused “was content to let him die in the foyer,” Dohm said.
“The evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt, this particular aggravated assault is as close as it can be to the offence of attempted murder.”
While Charters was found to have “limited mental function,” has expressed remorse and was manipulated into committing the offence, Dohm said that does not excuse his actions.
Charters acted on his own free will and must bear the consequences, Dohm said.
Charters’ lawyer, Craig Sicotte, submitted Monday that a sentence of two years less a day was fitting.
While Charters’ friends agreed the crime cannot go unpunished, they said the seven-year term that was imposed is too much.
“When I found out what happened, I couldn’t believe it was him,” said Tar Rattan of his reaction to the crime two years ago.
Rattan said he has known Charters 22 years and has never seen any sign of the violence described in court.
“Yes, he should be punished. (But) two years would have been appropriate.”