Man gets three-and-a-half years jail time in killing of senior

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details.

A Cranbrook man has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years behind bars after pleading guilty to charges of manslaughter and indignity to a dead body following the death of a senior woman last year.

Emmanuel Robert Murphy received his sentence Thursday in connection with the March 29, 2017 death of Waneta Hock, a 73-year-old resident of Mountain View Village.

An additional charge of theft over $5,000 resulting from a stolen van was stayed by Crown.

Murphy, 45, who has been in custody since shortly after his arrest last April, apologized for his actions and expressed remorse for his actions in front of Judge Lynal Doerksen in Cranbrook Provincial Court.

“I took a life,” Murphy told the court, “ I hurt someone. I hurt a mother, someone I don’t even know. I’ve screwed up my life…I apologize.”

Murphy, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia earlier in his life and has had struggles with alcohol and drug addiction, was living in Mountain View Village last March and intended to end his life in the bathroom the night of the incident, according to an agreed statement of facts between crown and defence lawyers.

After his mother confronted him over his plans to commit suicide, Murphy eventually left the apartment unit and went to a common area of the building where he encountered the victim. Murphy told authorities that he had his hands on her throat but doesn’t remember much else.

The victim was found stripped of her clothing, with exercise equipment placed on top of her. Forensics discovered DNA on her ankles and one wrist.

A pathologist determined that death was associated to a 75 per cent blockage of the right coronary artery and that the heart attack could have been brought on by a physical altercation.

The victim’s van was found on Hole 4 at Wildstone Golf Course the next day and contained some of Murphy’s personal items along with Hock’s wallet and cellphone.

He then broke into the house of a man who is involved with an addictions treatment centre.

He was later arrested under the Mental Health Act that day by RCMP and taken to East Kootenay Regional Hospital, in possession of the victim’s key to the common room when he was admitted.

While in custody, he was charged with the break and enter, but further charges relating to Hock’s death weren’t laid until August 2017, after DNA evidence linked him to the crime.

Murphy also admitted to police that he put exercise equipment on the victim’s face and neck to make it appear as if death was from asphyxiation. A pathologist doubted that gentle neck compressions which left no marks, would have been enough to cause death, if there was no heart disease, according to court documents.

Rick Strahl, Murphy’s lawyer, told the court his client had suffered sexual and physical abuse when he was younger that was never reported to police.

During the days and weeks leading up to the incident, Murphy had been in and out of homelessness and suffering from feelings of paranoia and of being shunned by his acquaintances.

Judge Doerksen said aggravating factors included indecency charge while drug and alcohol addiction were considered non-factors. Mitigating factors included his guilty pleas and admissions to elements of the offence.

He also said a sentence in federal prison will give Murphy the opportunity to access treatment programs for his mental health and alcohol and marijuana addictions.

Just Posted

Agassiz Community Gardens hoping to find new home at old McCaffrey school

The society has been looking for a new location since its previous gardens were sold in October

Kent looking to replace Ferny Coombe pool with indoor facility

The facility being built is dependent on grant funding from the province and federal government

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Escape room brings ‘out of the box’ activity to Agassiz

AESS alumni and teacher developed the concept to bring teamwork-based entertainment to the town

Hatzic man charged with assaulting Chilliwack RCMP officers

Jason Roberto Vatcher was out on bail facing firearms charges

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

Vancouver city council endorses free transit for youth

Mayor Kennedy Stewart will write a support letter to TransLink

Most Read