Soldier who shot and killed tentmate in Afghanistan gets four years in prison

A Canadian soldier who shot and killed his tentmate and close friend in Afghanistan in 2007 was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison and dismissed from the military.

Cpl. Matthew Wilcox of Glace Bay

SYDNEY, N.S. — A Canadian soldier who shot and killed his tentmate and close friend in Afghanistan in 2007 was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison and dismissed from the military.

Cpl. Matthew Wilcox, a 24-year-old soldier from Glace Bay, N.S., was convicted in July of criminal negligence causing death and neglect of duty in the shooting of Cpl. Kevin Megeney.

Wilcox stood as military judge Cmdr. Peter Lamont read him his sentence.

Lamont, indicating the reasons for his decision, said the conduct of the offender was part of a pattern of negligence that began with his failure to unload his firearm.

“He violated (the) trust of his colleagues,” Lamont said Wednesday.

“He was highly trained … and in this period he wilfully ignored instructions,” Lamont continued.

“His critical carelessness has had tragic consequences.”

Lamont added that he was obliged to give Wilcox the minimum sentence in the civilian Criminal Code of four years.

“In this case, I’m unable to say how the offence can be considered any less grave for sentencing purposes just because it has occurred overseas.”

Wilcox’s sister, who attended Wednesday’s hearing, wept as the young soldier was sentenced.

Wilcox’s court martial heard evidence that he and the 25-year-old Megeney — both reservists with the Nova Scotia Highlanders — were playing a game of quick-draw when Wilcox fatally shot his close friend in the chest on March 6, 2007.

Wilcox testified that he had acted in self-defence, instinctively firing his 9-millimetre Browning pistol without looking when he heard someone behind him cocking the hammer on a gun inside his tent at Kandahar Airfield.

Lamont did note that Wilcox is young, had no previous record and had been praised by his commanding officer for adequately performing his military duties since his return to Canada.

He also acknowledged Wilcox’s grief since Megeney’s death.

“There is no doubt he has suffered enormously from the loss of his platoon mate,” Lamont said.

Maj. Jason Samson, one of the prosecutors in the case, recommended that Wilcox be sentenced to six years in prison, nine months of which would be served at the Canadian Forces Service Prison in Edmonton.

As well, he said Wilcox should be reduced in rank to private and dismissed from the forces.

Members of Megeney’s family told Wilcox’s sentencing hearing their lives have been shattered by his death.

Dexter Megeney described his son as one of his “buddies,” a vibrant young man who enjoyed fishing, playing golf and shooting pool with his dad.

But since his son’s death, Megeney said he no longer sleeps well and has started smoking again after giving up the habit four years ago.

He takes up to 18 pills a day to control stress.

Wilcox’s lawyers said they plan to appeal the verdict in the case and ask Lamont to release the soldier pending that appeal.

Just Posted

Contentious cannabis production facility clears another planning hurdle

190,000-square-foot facility to be built in Blindman Industrial Park

Downtown Red Deer businesses concerned non-profit will move into prominent Ross Street space

Concern builds over John Howard Society converting a retail bay into office space

Red Deer County allows more urban hens

Five urban hen permits now allowed in hamlets, up from two

Red Deer high schools considering fines to stem ‘epidemic’ of student vaping

They are considering applying city no-smoking bylaw on school grounds

High Level and central Alberta fire serve as reminder to Red Deerians to be prepared

Central Alberta hamlet of Marlboro was on evacuation alert over the weekend

Dogs and drugs don’t mix: Red Deer business wants to leave downtown after 18 years

One business owner is done with downtown Red Deer after 18 years.… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Hiker and his dog lived off the land while lost in Alaska

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A hiker and his dog ate berries and moss… Continue reading

“Fun Guy” Kawhi the latest example of NBA branding

TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard’s likeness looks down from some 10 storeys high… Continue reading

Tarantino is back in Cannes, 25 years after ‘Pulp Fiction’

CANNES, France — Twenty-five years after premiering “Pulp Fiction” in Cannes, Quentin… Continue reading

Gordon Lightfoot on starring in a ‘legacy’ documentary about himself

TORONTO — Gordon Lightfoot didn’t need much convincing when filmmakers approached him… Continue reading

Burger King to expand sales of new meatless burger to Europe

COPENHAGEN — Burger King will launch in Sweden a version of its… Continue reading

Food insecurity grew in Nunavut after federal program to fight hunger: study

Newly published research has concluded that food insecurity in Nunavut grew after… Continue reading

Preliminary phase of Lionel Desmond inquiry begins in Nova Scotia

GUYSBOROUGH, N.S. — An inquiry begins its investigation today into the death… Continue reading

Most Read