Two men were sentenced to five years in prison for their role in attacking an RCMP officer nd stealing her vehicle in December 2019. (Advocate file photo)

Day parole revoked for man convicted in gas-and-dash death

A man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the gas-and-dash death of an Alberta business owner has had his day parole revoked.

The Parole Board of Canada says in its decision earlier this month that Mitchell Sydlowski, from Spruce Grove, Alta., failed to complete addictions treatment necessary to ensure his sobriety.

Sydlowski, who is in his early 30s, was sentenced in September 2020 to seven years in prison for the death of 54-year-old Ki Yun Jo.

An agreed statement of facts said Jo was killed when Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel in October 2017 in Thorsby, Alta., about 70 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.

The parole board says in its decision that Sydlowski became aggressive toward another resident at a facility where he was receiving addictions treatment because he was seeking a clean urine bag to hide his cocaine use from staff days before.

The board notes that Sydlowski has since been accepted at another treatment centre, but he presents an undue risk to society because his addiction issues are directly linked to his offence.

“The board does not lose sight of the nature and gravity of your index offences, nor does it lose sight of your offending history, which is linked to your addictions issues,” says the written decision dated Oct. 18.

“The victim impact statements on our file describe the hardship you have caused the victims as a result of your reckless behaviour that took a man’s life.”

Sydlowski was charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter, as well as to failing to remain at the scene of a fatal collision. His sentence was reduced by about three years for time served before his guilty plea.

The parole board document says Jo died after he confronted Sydlowski for not paying for gas at the gas station he owned. Sydlowski drove away while Jo held on to the van’s side mirror.

“You continued to drive, swerving in an attempt to make the victim let go,” the parole board says.

“Eventually, the victim fell off and was run over by the rear of the van. You continued to flee.”

Sydlowski admitted to being under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of Jo’s death.

“If anything positive can be found from this tragedy, it may be that there was a change in legislation that took place thereafter requiring payment before pumping gas to prevent this from happening again,” the parole board says.

Sydlowski started day parole in May at a treatment facility, where he initially “presented well” and was “motivated to succeed,” the parole document says.

However, facility staff found two prescription pills for male enhancement during a search of Sydlowski’s room a month later, the document says.

Sydlowski was not released from the facility at that time because staff deemed it was not a commonly abused drug. He admitted he got the pill from a previous resident because he worried about his sexual performance and was communicating with women on dating apps, the document says.

“You were again counselled about establishing healthy relationships with boundaries and not a quick hookup that could lead to poor decision-making,” the parole board says.

The document says Sydlowski has denied using cocaine while in treatment, as well as being involved in trying to get clean urine.

The parole board notes that Sydlowski continued to be engaged in his correctional plan, completed high school while in federal custody and worked as a tutor.

“The board was also provided information that you were only attending treatment to appease the board.”

The document also says Sydlowski’s mother told the board her son is “bright and articulate” when sober and continues to have her support, as well as that of his stepfather.

Although Sydlowski has been accepted to an alternate treatment facility, the parole board says it is in a different location where Sydlowski does not have community supports.

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