Jeffery Kraft. Photo submitted

Jeffery Kraft. Photo submitted

Man who fatally shot Ponoka man in 2019 to be sentenced in January

Tyler Campbell pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February but later tried to withdraw plea

The oft-delayed sentencing of a man convicted of manslaughter for fatally shooting a 20-year-old Ponoka man in 2019 has been set for January.

Tyler John Campbell, 29, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in November 2020 for shooting Jeffery Kraft with a shotgun blast to the chest in a dispute over money.

Kraft, with a man and woman he knew, was driven to a rural road near Lacombe on the night he was killed. When they arrived, the woman opened the trunk of the vehicle they had been travelling in and Campbell got out and confronted Kraft with a 12-gauge shotgun. The gun went off accidentally and Kraft was fatally hit in the chest at close range.

The Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer recommended a seven-year sentence in a joint submission last February.

However, Red Deer provincial court Judge Jim Hunter twice rejected the proposed sentence.

Campbell sought to withdraw his guilty plea but that was rejected by a different judge in October and the case returned to court for sentencing before Hunter on Nov. 16.

Both the Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer supported a seven-year sentence for Campbell during last week’s court appearance.

After hearing submissions, the judge said he did not want to make a sentencing decision “off the cuff” and adjourned sentencing to a later date, which has now been set for Jan. 20.

Before the lawyers made their submissions to the judge, he heard a dozen victim impact statements from friends and family of Kraft as Campbell watched through a closed-circuit video link with the Red Deer Remand Centre where he is being held.

In emotional statements, Kraft’s parents spoke of the anguish and ongoing pain the family is feeling after losing Jeffery and said they will never forgive Campbell for his crime.

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