Members of the RCMP Integrated Homicide Investigation Team were called in to investigate the death of Kenneth Paquette at Thunderbird Motel last May.

Sentence handed down in Hope motel murder

Richard Vallee receives a four-year prison sentence, less time already served in custody

Richard Vallee has been given a four-year sentence for his role in the death of a local First Nations artist last year.

Kenneth Paquette, 67, was found badly beaten on May 27, 2011 by Hope RCMP at the Thunderbird Motel on Flood-Hope Road.

Vallee was initially charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to the lessor offence of manslaughter in January. Judge Russell MacKay credited 44-year-old Vallee for time in custody, which means he will now serve the remaining 34 months of his sentence in prison.

According to MacKay’s reasons for judgement, Vallee kicked down the door of Paquette’s room after witnessing his girlfriend getting dressed through the window. A verbal argument quickly escalated and Paquette was left lying on his side by the bed bleeding. He was rushed to hospital, but succumbed to “extensive blunt force injuries” several hours later.

MacKay said a mitigating factor was Vallee’s criminal record of 20 convictions, which included theft, mischief and narcotics possession. The most recent conviction prior to the offence was an assault that resulted in a jail sentence of seven months, followed by 18 months probation. Vallee was still on probation at time of Paquette’s death.

“Obviously, the offence is very grave – a human life was taken because Mr. Vallee was unable or unwilling to control himself,” said MacKay. “His criminal record … suggests a propensity to use violence to get his own way. He did not learn the necessary lessons from his past convictions.”

However, MacKay also took into consideration Vallee’s remorse, rehabilitation programs completed while in custody such as anger management, and the nature of the situation which provoked him to “respond in an impulsive and angry manner.”

“His behaviour, while certainly not inexcusable, is capable of being understood in this light,” said MacKay. “In summary, it is clear from the evidence that the unfortunate death of Mr. Paquette was not planned.”