Calgary man, Byron Blanchard, pleads guilty in friend's death
Blanchard originally charged with 2nd-degree murder in 2012 stabbing death of Joshua Hogarth
A Calgary man who stabbed his friend to death pleaded guilty to manslaughter Friday.
Eighteen-year-old Joshua Hogarth's body was found outside a home in the 200 block of 90th Avenue S.E. on August 21, 2012. Hogarth and his friend, Byron Blanchard had been drinking and arguing all night before meeting around midnight to continue a fight that began earlier in the evening.
On Friday, an agreed statement of facts revealed the friends drank at three bars before getting kicked out of Ranchman's for fighting.
In a nearby McDonald's parking lot they continued to fight, pushing and shoving each other until police intervened, separating them and sending them home.
However, a series of text messages between Blanchard and Hogarth show their fight wasn't finished.
While at home, the men sent 10 texts back and forth with Hogarth calling on Blanchard to meet up again so they could fight.
Blanchard: "[By the way], u punch like a lil girl
Hogarth:[By the way], u got punched and snitched like a 12 year old girl u f-----. No [more] respect from me ur a [bitch] and wont be nothing [but] a bitch. Come meet me right now and say different.
Hogarth: Come meet me right now u goofy p---- ass f-----. Way to be scared.
Hogarth: Ur sad. Im glad hyahahahahahahahah
Blanchard: By the way u punch like a lil girl hahah [I'll] smash ur [girl] ass have a good night ya lil [p----]
Hogarth: Awwweee poor girl wont meet josh awwweeee poor girl
Hogarth: If I see you again [you're] getting smashed f-----
Blanchard: Bring it ya goof. [I'll] slit u now u know where i am
Hogarth: U got knocked in the face and say [didn't] do [shit!] Way to [be a] scared lil girl. I thought we were friends, [I realize] ur a goof. SHOW SOME RESPECT
Victim struggled to get help after stabbing
Eventually, Hogarth walked over to the nearby home where Blanchard was staying.
Hogarth called him and challenged him to a fight. Blanchard came outside with a knife.
"I just wanted him to leave me alone," Blanchard said in a statement to police.
Blanchard told police he yelled at Hogarth to go away. Then he said Hogarth punched him. From there, Blanchard says his memory is blurry.
"I just feel like a f---ing monster," he said. "I just wish it was me instead of him."
An autopsy revealed Hogarth's blood alcohol level was .19 at the time of his death.
A trail of blood near his body showed the young man struggled to get help after being stabbed — news to his mother, who thought he had died quickly.
"It's been 18 months of me going to bed every night thinking he passed away quickly and now I know he didn't, he was trying to get help," said Debbie Hogarth, the victim's mother.
Evidence didn't support murder conviction
Blanchard's defence lawyer, Jim Lutz said his client is devastated.
"I can't think of a better example of two lives ruined," said Lutz. "The result is tragic."
Blanchard was originally charged with second-degree murder but Crown prosecutor Darren Maloney says the evidence didn't support a murder conviction.
"We have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the intention to kill," explained Maloney, "Here there were issues with extreme intoxication, there were issues with provocation as well as self-defence."
The explanation was no comfort to the victim's mother, who wanted to see Blanchard convicted of murder.
"He was a drunk 18-year old boy," said Hogarth of her son. "He wasn't a violent boy."
"Everyone who knew Joshua knows he was a beautiful, beautiful soul, always had a smile on his face, always laughing, wanted to make the world a better place"
A sentencing hearing has been set for May.