A home invasion robbery and confinement of a stranger was an act of “terrorism,” a judge said on Friday in jailing a young man for six years.
Tyler Stanchfield, 19, of Red Deer was sentenced to a federal jail for the Oct. 5, 2007, invasion of a man’s home and the subsequent binding and death threats made against him by the invaders.
Stanchfield was also sentenced to six months in jail for the theft last November of a pickup truck and evading police in a separate incident.
He pleaded guilty to break and enter and commit an offence, unlawful confinement, theft, driving while disqualified, evading police and failing to comply with previous court orders.
Stanchfield was credited with 10 months jail for his time spent in remand since December, leaving him with five and two thirds years to serve overall, Red Deer provincial court Judge Monica Bast ruled.
Bast said the random home invasion was most troubling.
Stanchfield was the ring leader of a group of teenagers who decided to break into any home to steal money and property.
However, they picked an occupied home, surprising the resident.
Two of the culprits armed themselves with a sword and a bat found in the house and at least two others, including Stanchfield, also participated.
The victim was bound by his hands and feet with duct tape and dumped into a laundry room with a hood over his head.
He was released in about an hour but the thugs remained in the house for another four hours.
They left with a stolen Rolex watch and the keys to the victim’s pickup.
They threatened to kill him if he called police.
“The victim was terrified,” Bast said. “This was an act of terrorism that we have here.”
Bast said higher courts in Canada have ruled that the starting point for sentences on home invasion robberies is eight years.
Crown prosecutor Dean Zuk asked a few weeks ago, when Stanchfield pleaded guilty, for a seven-year sentence. Defence lawyer Bonnie Ewing sought a community-based sentence of less than two years.
Stanchfield has a substantial criminal record, despite his youth, court heard.
Bast said it was noteworthy that Stanchfield was on probation at the time for a house break-in only a few months previous.
She said Stanchfield, who has been diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome and developmental disorders, has never held a driver’s licence or learned to drive yet drove the stolen vehicle.
Stanchfield had previous convictions for stealing a large farm tractor from a dealer south of Red Deer and driving it for kilometres, causing extensive damage.
Bast noted that three other youths involved in the home invasion all received custodial sentences in youth.
Stanchfield is also prohibited from driving for five years after his release and must provide a DNA sample.