A man who pleaded guilty to shooting a Ponoka man in 2019 but had his proposed sentence rejected by a judge last week has not decided his next steps.
In a rare move in a case involving a serious crime, Judge Jim Hunter rejected the joint submission for a seven-year sentence from the Crown prosecutor and defence on March 4. The judge said the sentence could be seen as “unhinged from the facts” and lead to a breakdown and loss of confidence in the administration of the courts.
Tyler John Campbell, 28, pleaded guilty last November to manslaughter for shooting Jeffery Kraft, 20, in a supposed dispute over owed money on Dec. 15, 2019.
Kraft was in the car with two other people in northeast Lacombe when Campbell climbed out of the trunk and confronted him with the 12-gauge shotgun, which went off, hitting Kraft in the right chest.
Campbell, who is from Lacombe, drove Kraft to Lacombe hospital where he dumped him in the parking lot. Kraft later died from his injuries.
Now that the sentence has been rejected, Campbell must decide whether to apply to the judge to withdraw his guilty plea or accept the judge’s sentencing.
Hunter said after turning down the joint submission he must give Campbell the opportunity to make an application to withdraw his guilty plea and plead not guilty.
Sentencing will go ahead if Campbell declines to apply to withdraw his guilty plea or the judge does not accept it. If the not guilty plea is accepted, another trial before a judge from outside the area could follow.
Defence lawyer Michael Scrase said on Thursday he was still talking to Campbell about what he wanted to do.
“I just need a bit more time to make a final decision on where Mr. Campbell is going next with the charges,” Scrase told Red Deer provincial court Judge Gordon Yake.
The case returns to court on March 25.