What started as an assault over a missing piece of steak, and resulted in a fatal stabbing of a Rocky Mountain House-area man with a steak knife, ended with a four-year prison sentence for his killer.
Michael Ernest Thivierge, 55, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the May 18, 2011, death of Chester Shearer, 64, in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Tuesday.
In an agreed statement of facts, the court heard that Shearer, who was known to become violent, attacked Thivierge from behind, pulled him out of his chair, threw him down and kicked him after Thivierge took some of Shearer’s steak.
Shearer left, then returned, and when he approached Thivierge from across the table, Thivierge grabbed a steak knife on the table and stabbed Shearer in the chest.
Shearer died at a rural acreage on Hwy 752 near Cow Lake, about 15 km southwest of Rocky, where Shearer and Thivierge lived.
Justice M.T. Moreau sentenced Thivierge to four years, less the 480 days he spent in pre-trial custody.
Moreau said while Thivierge feared for his life, stabbing Shearer was a thoughtless, impulsive response to a “benign set of circumstances.”
“There is no suggestion of planning here,” Moreau said.
She also took into consideration that Thivierge sought help for Shearer and that he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Thivierge, who has a criminal record, was originally charged with second-degree murder. A two-week judge and jury trial was set to begin on Tuesday. Instead, Thivierge pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.
His sentence includes a lifetime weapons ban.