VANCOUVER — A Vancouver man who killed his elderly father following a dispute over the son’s purchase of a Ferrari has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
In April, Alexander Shevalev, who was 19 when he killed 80-year-old Vladimir Shevalev on March 1, 2015, and is now 26, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter.
He had initially been found guilty of second-degree murder by a B.C. Supreme Court jury in June 2018, but had the conviction overturned in August 2019 and a new trial ordered. Rather than proceed to trial, he entered the guilty plea before Justice James Williams.
In imposing sentence Wednesday, Williams accepted a joint submission on sentencing from the Crown and defence.
“The circumstances that bring this matter to court are tragic,” said the judge. “The deceased, an elderly man, had his remaining life snuffed out.”
The judge said there was no reason to believe the son was acting in self-defence or being threatened at the time of the offence, which he called an act of “striking irresponsibility and arrogance indicative of a considerable deficit of character.”
But the judge added that he accepted that since the crime, the son had turned his life around and is now a “considerably different and better person” and his remorse is genuine.
Court heard that Shevalev, who was born in Russia but came to Canada with his family in 1998 before becoming a Canadian citizen in 2001, had lived a privileged life, attending private schools and enjoying extensive travel.
But his parents had an acrimonious divorce which raised tensions in the household, and he started using cocaine, in part to relieve stress from the parental arguments.
He quickly became addicted, dropped out of high school and began stealing money from his father’s bank accounts to fuel his drug use.
Shevalev was kicked out of his father’s condo in the Shaw Towers in downtown Vancouver in January 2015 after the father discovered he had stolen money from him, and in late February 2015, the son took about $100,000 from his dad’s account that he used to buy the Ferrari.
His father was upset about the purchase and they had an argument over the vehicle in the apartment.
The argument turned physical with Shevalev putting his dad, who had numerous health issues, in a chokehold. The father lost consciousness with cause of death determined to be external pressure to the neck by way of asphyxia.
The aggravating factors, according to the Crown, included that he had committed the offence against his own father, representing a breach of trust, and that his motivation for the crime was greed.
The mitigating factors included that he had entered a guilty plea and was a first-time youthful offender who had taken steps to rehabilitate himself, including ending his drug use since his arrest and finishing high school and attending university.
“I want to say one more time how sorry I am for what I did and the terrible impact it had on my family,” Shevalev said in a brief statement in court. “I truly love my father and I’m deeply remorseful for my actions.”
The judge imposed the eight-year sentence, reduced to five years, four months after giving Shevalev credit for pre-sentence custody and abiding by strict conditions on bail.