An RCMP forensics officers examines the parking lot of a car wash at the corner of Margaret Avenue and Fletcher Street in downtown Chilliwack before noon on Oct. 22, 2019 after an overnight homicide. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Court to hear conflicting descriptions of events during Chilliwack manslaughter sentencing

Crown seeking 9-10 years for Owen Charpentier who shot and killed Keith Baldwin in 2019

The sentencing hearing of Owen Dale Charpentier, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter with a firearm in the 2019 death of Keith Baldwin, began Monday (June 13) in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack.

Crown counsel Henry Waldock explained it was to be a “Gardiner hearing,” which refers to the situation in sentencing when Crown and defence lawyers differ on the exact circumstances of what happened during the commission of the offence.

Given his characterization of the facts, Waldock told the court he’ll be seeking a nine to 10-year sentence for Charpentier.

He noted that the range of sentencing available for the crime of manslaughter is “immense,” adding it could go from accidental killing on one end, to intentional killing on the other.

“This one is closer to the murder end,” Waldock said, contrasting it with one that could be in self-defence or near accidental, as examples.

Baldwin’s wife MarieAnne Baldwin was in attendance at the first day of the sentencing hearing along with several other people. The court heard there will be 12 victim impact statements read at the sentencing hearing, the last one by Baldwin’s mother.

READ MORE: Wife of Chilliwack homicide victim says he was more than ‘known to police’

According to the agreed statement of facts, Charpentier, 25, shot the 27-year-old Baldwin in the front of the forehead on Oct. 22, 2019 near a car wash at Yale Road and Fletcher Street.

In the days prior to that, Waldock said Baldwin had caught Charpentier breaking into his car. Baldwin believed Charpentier had damaged it and wanted recompense from Charpentier. A confrontation involving pepper spray ensued before the shooting.

So there was some “tit for tat” going on between the two, Waldock said. But where the Crown and defence differed was on the characterization of what happened “at the instant of the shooting,” whether Baldwin had turned and was walking away from Charpentier, or was directly in his field of vision.

The injured Baldwin was found later on the night of the shooting by security personnel lying on the ground.

“Baldwin’s body remained where it fell,” Waldock said. He was unconscious and had a knife. When emergency personnel cut his clothing, they found four more knives on his person, Crown counsel said.

Baldwin did not succumb to his injuries immediately, but was clinging to life in hospital for a few days and his family had a chance to say goodbye before he was taken off life-support.

Charpentier appeared in court for the start of sentencing in person. He has short hair and a goatee, and was wearing a red sweatshirt and red pants.

The court heard that recently Charpentier has become aware that he has Indigenous heritage and therefore a Gladue report will be required, taking that into account.

Charpentier was considered well-known to police. He was already behind bars facing the manslaughter charge when he was sentenced a year ago in Chilliwack provincial court on March 4, 2021 to time served for the robbery of a man in the downtown area in 2019.

READ MORE: Chilliwack man pleads guilty to manslaughter of Keith Baldwin in 2019

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MarieAnne and Keith Baldwin in an undated photo from Facebook. Baldwin was shot and killed downtown Chilliwack on Oct. 22, 2019. Owen Charpentier faces one count of second-degree murder. (Facebook)