Update: Justice Geoffrey Gaul has sentenced Joshua Bredo, who has already served the equivalent of a seven-year sentence, to additional jail time of two years less a day, followed by three years probation. Bredo has been in custody for four years, nine months and 23 days and will receive credit of just over seven years for time spent in pre-trial custody.
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The public gallery at the Victoria courthouse was overflowing on Monday to hear Joshua Tyler Bredo’s guilty plea to manslaughter and an explanation of why he killed a young Revelstoke musician in August 2011.
Sixty friends and members of Daniel Levesque’s family made the journey from Revelstoke and will hear a sentencing verdict from B.C. Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Gaul today.
Levesque, then 20 years of age, moved to Victoria in June 2011 to advance his music career.
But seven weeks later, his family was arranging his funeral, the court heard Monday. Following his death, about 3,000 people attended a vigil for Levesque and about 700 attended a memorial in Revelstoke.
Bredo, 32, was initially charged with the second-degree murder of Levesque, but that charge was stayed in December 2011 due to a lack of evidence. After more investigation, Bredo was charged with first-degree murder, sexual assault and unlawful confinement in 2013. A trial by judge and jury, which began in January 2015, ended in a mistrial.
On Monday, Crown prosecutor Paula Donnachie and defence lawyer Tim Russell asked the judge to sentence Bredo to additional prison time of two years less a day, for a global sentence of nine years and two months. Bredo has been in custody for four years, nine months and 23 days and will receive credit of just over seven years for time spent in pre-trial custody.
People cried openly as Donnachie read a 12-page agreed statement of facts, signed by the Crown and defence. Levesque’s mother, Stacy Thur, and his younger brother and sister sat in the front row beside Levesque’s father Steven and wife Lisa, listening to the description of events leading to Levesque’s death.
In June 2011, Bredo was an assistant manager at the 7-Eleven on Douglas Street. He lived with his girlfriend in a Cormorant Street apartment. She believed he was heterosexual and that they’d get married soon.
On June 15, 2011, Bredo met Levesque and hired him. For the next seven weeks, Bredo lied to Levesque about his sexuality, his life and family.
Levesque believed these lies, according to the agreed statement of facts.
From mid-June to early August, Bredo bought cocaine 15 times which he consumed with Levesque.
Bredo didn’t tell Levesque he had a girlfriend. He let Levesque believe he was single, lived alone and wanted to party with young women. But his attraction to Levesque was becoming a significant issue for him. Within days of meeting Levesque, Bredo confided to a friend: “Seriously falling for this guy.” He asked another friend: “Why am I so in love with him?”
Bredo paid for dinner and drinks for Levesque, pretending he came from an affluent family. He told Levesque members of his family worked at a high-powered law firm in Calgary and family members owned a law firm in Victoria. He told Levesque he would get him a job at the fictitious law firm in Victoria in September and there would be an orientation session in August. He planned a bogus trip to Cuba for the two of them.
Levesque showed admiration and respect for Bredo, which fuelled Bredo’s attraction to the younger man.
Bredo became more frustrated and depressed, turning to drugs and alcohol to escape his unhappiness. His girlfriend kicked him out of her apartment and he was about to be let go from work.
On the afternoon of Aug. 3, 2011, Levesque came to Bredo’s apartment for what he believed would be an orientation session for the fictitious law firm. Bredo had been using cocaine and had slept very little for three days.
He knew his lies would catch up to him.
Levesque arrived and started asking about the orientation, the trip to Cuba, a raise he was promised. Levesque started to realize Bredo had been lying, became upset and told Bredo they were no longer friends. He tried to leave the apartment, but Bredo physically prevented him, said the statement of facts. Levesque became frightened and tried to break away.
Bredo was panicked about Levesque leaving and telling his friends and employer about his lies. He grabbed a hammer and struck Levesque three times on the head.
The hammer broke in two. Levesque’s scalp was bleeding profusely. He was still trying to leave, making it to the apartment door. The men struggled and Levesque managed to open the door a crack. He said “Let me go. Just let me go” and “Help me. Help me,” according to the statement.
Bredo pulled Levesque back into the living room. Levesque fell unconscious to the floor. In a panic, Bredo went into the kitchen and grabbed a large kitchen knife and used it on his own arm, stomach and head. He picked up Levesque and placed him face down on the couch. He took the kitchen knife and placed it on the floor close to Levesque’s right hand, then lay on the floor close to the hammer head.
Bredo called 911 and said his friend had attacked him. Police initially believed Bredo was the victim.
Levesque died a few hours later in hospital.
According to the statement, Bredo has admitted he developed an unhealthy infatuation for Levesque. His desire for a sexual relationship led him to lie to Levesque and his cocaine use affected his judgment. He understands that his prospects for rehabilitation depend on treatment for sexual deviance, violence and substance use.
Although Bredo tried to apologize to Leveseque’s family, they quickly left the courtroom as he stood to address the court from the prisoner’s box. Bredo said he took full responsibility for Levesque’s death.
“I am profoundly sorry,” Bredo said. “I was a pathetic, horrible, cocaine-addicted coward. Daniel did not deserve to die. I deserved to die that day. His death is inexcusable. My actions are unforgivable.”