The man who killed Christine Denham in 2019 in a house on Victor Street was sentenced to five years in jail in BC Supreme Court in Abbotsford on Wednesday.
Shane Travis Hughes shot Denham in the stomach with a shotgun in their home during what was described as an argument.
Hughes entered the living room with the Remington pump action shotgun, a gun that was not his. Denham tried to take it away from him and it discharged.
Hughes then fled the residence, gave the gun to a friend who was waiting in a car. He went back in, dialed 911 and gave the phone to Denham before leaving.
During the call with an emergency dispatcher, Denham said she needed an ambulance but she did not say who shot her.
An emotional two-day sentencing hearing was held Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 during which the court heard from Denham’s children, the father of her children, and Hughes himself.
“I still think of the promises she made when I was younger,” Denham’s daughter told the court on Feb. 9, adding that she admitted to sometimes being jealous of her friends who have mothers.
“People don’t really know what they have until they lose it.”
Hughes addressed the court with a brief statement on Feb. 10.
“I would like to take responsibility for my actions that led up to her death, the impact that it had for her children, for her family, for her community,” Hughes told the court.
”I take full responsibility. I realize the void in their life and the life that is lost and I’ll take any justice you give me.”
Denham and Hughes were living together in a house on Victor Street in Chilliwack in a tumultuous, drug-filled lifestyle, when Hughes shot her on Feb. 26, 2019.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in September 2022.
Manslaughter cases have a wide range of seriousness from what is referred to as near accident up to near murder. Justice Janet Winteringham said this case was somewhere in the middle.
Crown asked for a sentence of six years in jail, while Hughes’ lawyer asked for three years.
Justice Winteringham handed down a sentence of five years. Minus time served, that amounts to 32 additional months in custody. He was handed a lifetime firearms ban and issued no-contact orders for several of Denham’s family members.
“I hope all of those impacted by this tragic event will be able to move forward,” Justice Winteringham said.
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