Jordan Pritchard was high on cocaine and looking for more when he opened the door to a violent home invasion in Red Deer somewhere between midnight and 1 a.m. on May 14, 2013.
Still in remand and awaiting his sentence, Pritchard pleaded guilty in Red Deer provincial court on Friday to a single count of break and enter with intent to aid and abet an indictable offence.
Pritchard, 27, was drawn into the offence by two others whose plan was not to buy more drugs, but to rob the dealer, Crown prosecutor Murray McPherson and defence counsel Paul Morigeau said in their joint submission for Judge Ken Rostad.
Morigeau said Pritchard met the two men the previous day and used cocaine with them. He complied when they asked him to take them to his dealer, assuming they were going to buy more drugs.
Outside the dealer’s ground-level suite on Parke Avenue, the two men hid in the shadows while Pritchard banged on the window and asked to be let inside.
When the dealer opened the door for Pritchard, the other two men emerged and barged in, said McPherson. One man produced a sawed-off rifle and the other pulled out a chrome-plated handgun, demanding that the dealer hand over his drugs and cash.
They got $83, a laptop computer and a cellphone.
McPherson said they then handed Pritchard a gun and told him to make sure the other people in the suite stayed put while they took the dealer away to find his supplier.
The drug dealer managed to escape his captors later, said McPherson.
Morigeau said his client was blind to the intentions of the other two men and accepted the gun out of fear for his own safety.
Pritchard never pointed it at anyone and when one of the women in the suite asked if he was going to shoot, he said “No,” allowing her to run out of the building, said Morigeau.
Pritchard gave the pair time to leave with their captive and then fled the building, ditching the gun as he ran, said McPherson.
McPherson and Morigeau recommended a sentence of 32 months, minus the nine and a half months that Pritchard has served in remand since his arrest.
“There is no evidence that he knew what they were planning to do,” said McPherson.
Morigeau described his client as a mouse being lured to cheese, with no idea of the game plan or that his companions were carrying weapons.
Rostad said he could not accept their sentence recommendation, however, because the starting point for sentencing on a home invasion is eight years. After hearing additional arguments from McPherson and Morigeau, he adjourned sentencing to April 9.
Also arrested and charged in connection with the incident were Garnet Colby Mcinnes, 23, and David James Kertesz, 28. Both men are awaiting trial on charges including kidnapping, extortion, forcible confinement, uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Further charges were laid against both Kertesz and Mcinnes in connection with an incident later the same day, involving a standoff with police in the Highland Green subdivision.