Man convicted of 2015 fatal stabbing says he is not a dangerous offender

Dangerous offender status can mean indefinite prison sentence

A Red Deer man who repeatedly stabbed another man to death and bit a chunk out of a fellow inmate’s ear while behind bars told a judge he should not be declared a dangerous offender.

“I consider myself a moderately bad man. I know I’m not good,” Chad Alexander Kulba told Red Deer provincial court Judge Bruce Fraser on Wednesday.

Kulba said he bit his fellow remand centre inmate during a brawl over a pillow in August 2017, but only after the man bit his arm first.

Kulba was convicted of aggravated assault for that incident in April 2018, but has yet to be sentenced because Crown prosecutors applied to have him declared a dangerous offender, which can lead to an indefinite sentence.

That hearing took place Wednesday with the Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer making their submissions to the judge.

On Christmas Day 2015, then-33-year-old Kulba fatally stabbed Thomas Braconnier, 46, more than 30 times in a downtown Red Deer apartment building. Braconnier was trying to flee when Kulba, who was heavily intoxicated on a mix of alcohol, crystal meth and prescription drugs, savagely attacked his victim, at one point using the broken shaft of a golf club.

Kulba pleaded guilty to manslaughter in November 2017 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

When that stabbing took place, Kulba said he was “catatonic” from drugs and feared that Braconnier, with whom he had an earlier confrontation, or someone else, would come to harm him.

He admitted he had struggled for a long time with alcohol and drugs, which fuelled his crimes. But he found religion in Drumheller Institution, he said, adding he is getting medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has sworn off drinking and drugs, and is determined to turn his life around when he gets out in two years after serving his full sentence.

“I’m doing the full seven years, basically. I’m not arguing with that either.”

Kulba said he has been provoked many times behind bars by other inmates, but has turned the other cheek.

“I’ve never lost it, or Mike Tyson’ed, so to speak,” he said, referring to the infamous 1997 fight when heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson bit a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear.

Crown prosecutor Ed Ring said Kulba should be declared a dangerous offender because of his lengthy criminal record that includes 2011 convictions for forcible confinement and aggravated assault, a charge of assaulting a peace officer in 2009, as well as other assaults in 2006 and 2003. He was also convicted of numerous other property and breach of court order offences.

Ring pointed out that a psychological evaluation of Kulba showed he suffered from a social behaviour disorder and was at a high risk of re-offending if he again fell under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

His risk is further increased because of his “diverse victim pool,” which indicates he does not focus on a certain type of target.

Another psychological assessment pointed out that not all Kulba’s assaults happened when he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When threatened or cornered, he could resort to violence, the psychologist wrote.

“This should not be seen as a borderline case,” Ring told the judge.

Defence lawyer George Lebessis acknowledged Kulba’s lengthy criminal record, but said there was no pattern of violent and uncontrollable behaviour.

Kulba, who is Metis, was raised in a troubled foster home that led to his alcohol abuse. Given support and treatment following his release, Kulba’s risk to society is manageable, he argued.

“He’s not a psychopath, that’s clear,” Lebessis said.

Fraser said he will need a couple of months to review the case before making his decision on the dangerous offender application. The case returns to court on March 9 to set a date for the decision.

When someone is declared a dangerous offender, the judge can order an indeterminate prison sentence, a set prison sentence, or a sentence with a long-term supervision order.

The judge could also declare Kulba a long-term offender, which calls for a sentence of at least two years, plus up to 10 years of long-term supervision. Should the judge choose neither option, Kulba will be sentenced as usual on the aggravated assault charge.

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