A man whose second-degree murder trial once ended in a mistrial in Red Deer pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Calgary last week and was sentenced to five years in prison.
In Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench last Thursday, Daniel Boyd Sawyer admitted his role in the death of Alan Beach, 31, outside the now-closed Blarney Stone Pub in Red Deer’s north end on Nov. 18, 2015.
His five-year sentence was satisfied by the time Sawyer had spent in prison awaiting his trial, and he was allowed to go free following his court appearance.
It was the second manslaughter conviction for Sawyer, who was also convicted of the crime in 2005.
A Red Deer jury began hearing evidence in Sawyer’s murder trial last Nov. 15, in what was supposed to be about a three-week session. But it quickly became bogged down in evidence issues that had to be argued without the jury present, meaning they went days without hearing any testimony.
By the time Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Bill Hopkins declared a mistrial in early January, the jury — now down to the minimum 10 people allowed — had heard evidence for less than five of the more than 30 days the court had been sitting.
Defence lawyer Chris Archer was given approval to move the trial to Calgary to get an earlier retrial date for his client, who has been in custody since he turned himself into police nine days after the stabbing.
The trial featured dramatic eyewitness testimony from a friend of Beach’s, who said he saw his friend in a confrontation with Sawyer and another man, Bill Georgopolous, outside the pub. Sawyer stabbed Beach in the left leg during the scuffle, the friend testified.
During cross-examination, the defence lawyer pointed out Beach’s fatal stab wounds to his leg and chest were on the right — not the left — side of his body.
Georgopolous previously pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to 45 days in prison.