Arson sentencing delayed

Sentencing has been delayed until mid-October for a Red Deer man who has admitted to burning a vehicle alleged to have been involved in a fatal collision.

  • Oct. 1, 2014 1:36 p.m.

Sentencing has been delayed until mid-October for a Red Deer man who has admitted to burning a vehicle alleged to have been involved in a fatal collision.

Penhold resident Trystan Sorensen, 18, died at the side of Hwy 592 west of Penhold on May 20 after being struck by a passing motorist, who then drove off.

Police allege that the 2003 Dodge SUV, reported stolen the next day, was later found in a field where it had been doused in diesel fuel and set on fire.

Crown prosecutor Katie Clarey alleged in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday that vehicle owner Jessica Masyk of Innisfail was driving the SUV at the time of the collision, fled the scene and later enlisted the help of two men.

Steven “Frenchy” Lagace, 29, pleaded guilty to a single count of arson on Tuesday, admitting to driving the vehicle out to the field where it was found, hitting two mailboxes along the way, and then striking it numerous times with a sledge hammer before setting it on fire.

Represented by defence counsel Daniel Wilson, Lagace pleaded guilty before Judge Gordon Deck to a number of unrelated offences as well, including being unlawfully at large while on parole, possessing a stolen vehicle, possession of a drugs including cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and heroin, and possession of a prohibited weapon — a set of brass knuckles.

Lagace was arrested in Red Deer on June 16 by RCMP who recognized him while investigating a different suspect on a charge of assault.

Clarey said Lagace ran from a residence and jumped into a stolen pickup truck, and that he was trying to drive away when one of the officers fired a round at the vehicle.

Sentencing on all charges was adjourned after Clarey submitted a set of victim impact statements written by members of Sorensen’s family.

The writers had asked to read their statements into the record during sentencing, but were not present for court on Tuesday, except for Sorensen’s mother, Amy Sorensen.

Deck adjourned sentencing for two weeks so she and the others would have a chance to attend the hearing and read their statements.

Now in remand, Lagace returns for sentencing on Oct. 14.

Masyk, also in custody, has not entered a plea on her charges, including leaving the scene of an injury collision and making a false statement to police.

Masyk also faces charges laid in mid-August after an incident in Highland Green, during which police vehicles were rammed while RCMP were attempting to arrest two people suspected of attempting to break into vehicles in the area.

Masyk returns to court on Oct. 17.

Logan Graham, also charged in connection with the arson of Masyk’s vehicle, is to enter his plea on Oct. 7.

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