The man who killed Revelstoke’s Daniel Levesque almost six years ago pleaded guilty in Victoria court on Monday.
Joshua Tyler Bredo pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Daniel Jordan Levesque on August 3, 2011.
Bredo was originally charged with second-degree murder, but that charge was dropped in December of 2011 when an autopsy report said Levesque died of cocaine toxicity, despite evidence that he was struck by a hammer.
A year later, Bredo was charged with first degree murder and in 2013 he was also charged with sexual assault and unlawful confinement. The trial started in January 2015 but ended in a mistrial six weeks later when Justice Malcom Macauley discharged the jurors, indicating he felt the case was not yet ready for trial, citing a series of unresolved issues.
After a lengthy delay that included an attempt by Bredo’s lawyer Tim Russell to get the charges tossed due to delays, a plea deal was struck.
At Monday’s hearing, Russell and Crown counsel Paula Donnachie put forward a statement of facts in which Bredo acknowledged responsibility for Levesque’s death.
As part of the hearing, a series of Levesque’s relatives and a friend came forward to read victim impact statements into the court record.
“I am forever lost. Daniel had a pure heart. He helped everyone and never had an enemy in his life until he was killed by a man he thought was his friend,” said Levesque’s mother, Stacey Thur.
“No matter how hard I try, I will never be the person I once was,” she continued, wiping tears from her eyes as Bredo sat behind her in the defendant’s box, his face expressionless.
Levesque’s father, Stephen Levesque, also spoke and said the lengthy court process had been devastating for his family and for the entire community. His voice cracking with emotion, he spoke about how his son’s death and the repeated court appearances had broken him, turning him into a different man.
When Levesque’s younger sister Lainey took the podium, the courtroom fell silent as she recounted how she had been only 12 years old when her brother was murdered.
“I have not had a restful sleep since Daniel died,” she said. “Nothing anyone can do can give me back my innocence.”
Levesque’s death shocked Revelstoke. Hundreds came out to a tearful candlelight memorial in Grizzly Plaza two days later. A celebration of life was held at the community centre and friends put on a sold-out concert in his memory.
“Everybody loved him,” his mother Stacey Thur said at the time. “He was full of compassion and caring and he was loyal to a fault.”
In the statement of facts, Bredo acknowledged he told Levesque a series of lies to lure him into a friendship after hiring him as at the 7-Eleven store where Bredo was assistant manager.
Bredo told Levesque two of his family members were layers in a high-powered law firm and he had secured him employment at the firm. He said the orientation would take place in August of 2011 with the job starting in September.
All of this was untrue.
Unbeknownst to Levesque, Bredo’s offer of friendship and the deceptions that followed had their basis in a sexual attraction he had developed for Levesque. He had confided in a friend that he “was out with his str8t younger bud,” and that “he is str8t and thinks I am too, haha.”
On August 3, 2011, Levesque went to meet Bredo at his apartment believing his law firm orientation would take place that day. He was told the orientation was cancelled.
According to the statement of facts, the two men argued, and Levesque told Bredo he wanted to leave at which time Bredo prevented him from leaving and ultimately struck him several times with a hammer. The blows were sufficiently forceful to break the hammers handle and they knocked Levesque unconscious.
At this point, Bredo panicked, moved Levesque to the couch and then got a kitchen knife and stabbed himself several times. He then placed the knife by Levesque’s hand, called 911 and claimed that he was the victim of an attack and needed to defend himself.
Bredo and Levesque were both transported to hospital, where Levesque died that day. Bredo’s wounds were assessed as superficial and he was released to police custody.
In the joint submission by Bredo’s counsel and the Crown Counsel, they called for the court to impose a sentence of just less than 10 years. Given the time Bredo has already spent in custody, the recommendation would result in an additional incarceration of slightly more than two more years because the court’s give extra credit for time served before sentencing.
The judge was set to hand down his sentence after press time. Visit RevelstokeReview.com for more on this story.