An RCMP homicide investigator

Man charged in motel murder: First Nations artist beaten to death

A 43-year-old Hope man is in custody in connection with a weekend beating death.

The victim, 67-year-old Kenneth Ronald Paquette, a local First Nations artist, was often seen selling his works in town, usually in front of the Hope Hotel.

Paquette was found on Friday afternoon by Hope RCMP when they were called to an assault at the Thunderbird Motel, on Flood Hope Road.

He was rushed to hospital but succumbed to his injuries early Saturday morning.

The RCMP located a suspect in the assault on Friday night.



A 43-year-old Hope man is in custody in connection with a weekend beating death.

The victim, 67-year-old Kenneth Ronald Paquette, a local First Nations artist, was often seen selling his works in town, usually in front of the Hope Hotel.

Paquette was found on Friday afternoon by Hope RCMP when they were called to an assault at  the Thunderbird Motel, on Flood Hope Road.

He was rushed to hospital but succumbed to his injuries early Saturday morning.

The RCMP located a suspect in the assault on Friday night.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team was brought in Saturday morning to process the crime scene.

Investigators gathered evidence from the motel suite and presented their findings to Crown Counsel.

Richard Vallee has now been charged with second degree murder and one charge of  breaking and entering to commit an indictable offence.

He was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

According to provincial court records, the accused has a long criminal record, including convictions for theft and mischief.

Police have established that both the victim and the suspect were known to each other. The  attack appears to have been over a dispute, but details have not been released.

The incident does not appear to have links to gangs, drugs or organized crime.

Joe Marych, owner of the Headliner barbershop inside the Hope Hotel, has known the victim for years.

“He was a nice, quiet person, not a trouble maker at all. He just stood there selling his art,” said Marych.

“He didn’t beg for money or cigarettes, he was very polite … he didn’t deserve this.”

Marych, who is the same age as the victim, said it is difficult to imagine what he went through.

“He was an older guy and he wasn’t very healthy. He took medication.

Paquette, was the subject of a 2008 National Film Board of Canada documentary, called Hope.

The film followed Paquette, his partner of 18 years and their five sons – all living on the Schkam Native Reserve – for one year as they struggled to cope during a troubled time.