British Columbia

One-punch victim's family addresses killer as he awaits sentencing in B.C.

Crown prosecutors say a man who killed another man half his age with a roundhouse sucker punch over a parking lot spat outside a Burnaby, B.C., Starbucks should be jailed for at least two years, a punishment the victim’s family laments as "nothing" compared to the overwhelming grief they will feel all their lives.

Lawrence Sharpe, 42, was found guilty of manslaughter in March

Michael Page-Vincelli died from injuries he sustained after being punched unconscious, falling and hitting his head at a Starbucks in Burnaby on July 12, 2017. (Steffany Page/Facebook)

Crown prosecutors say a man who killed another man half his age with a roundhouse sucker punch over a parking lot spat outside a Burnaby, B.C., Starbucks should be jailed for at least two years, a proposed punishment the victim's family laments as "nothing" compared to its overwhelming grief.

Lawrence Sharpe, 42, was convicted of manslaughter in March for punching Michael Page-Vincelli in the head inside the coffee shop at Kensington Square on July 12, 2017. Court heard Sharpe confronted Page-Vincelli because he'd been arguing outside with Sharpe's girlfriend.

Court heard Page-Vincelli, 22, was likely knocked out instantly. He fell and hit his head on the floor hard enough to cause a fracture to his skull and bleeding around his brain. He was declared brain dead the following day and died on July 15, 2017.

A sentencing hearing for Sharpe in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday heard the Crown and defence make their recommendations for a sentence: no more than three years behind bars.

Page-Vincelli's parents cried through the hearing and after it was adjourned until Friday.

"This guy, he [may get] two years then he gets to go out and live his life. What does my son get? I get no more Christmases. No more Mother's Day. No more birthdays. Nothing," said Page-Vincelli's mother, Steffany Page, speaking to reporters and holding her son's framed childhood photos outside court.

"He was my baby and I don't have him anymore."

Steffany Page, right, speaks to reporters outside the sentencing hearing for her son's convicted killer on Tuesday afternoon. (Rhianna Schmunk/CBC)

Court heard Sharpe sought out Page-Vincelli because he'd been arguing with Sharpe's girlfriend in the parking lot outside the coffee shop, while she was waiting for Sharpe to finish up at a nearby bank.

"There was swearing, name-calling and cigarette-flicking," Crown prosecutor Colleen Smith said Tuesday.

Page-Vincelli eventually walked away from the argument and went into the Starbucks. Smith said Sharpe's girlfriend, Oldouz Pournouruz, went to get her boyfriend and led him to the coffee shop, where she pointed out Page-Vincelli.

Security video shows Page-Vincelli walking toward the door, snacking on a bag of chips, when Sharpe walks toward him

Surveillance video from a Starbucks in Burnaby, B.C., shows the deadly one-punch attack that killed 22-year-old Michael Page-Vincelli on July 12, 2017. 0:23

The punch is over within a second and the 22-year-old is knocked out of the frame.

"There was no warning, no invitation to fight, no words exchanged," Smith said.

Smith said the couple turned and left, leaving Page-Vincelli on the floor.

Sharpe's girlfriend, Oldouz Pournouruz, 35, was also charged with manslaughter in relation to Page-Vincelli's death. She was acquitted in March. 

'I catch myself smelling his clothes'

Steffany Page remembers kneeling at her son's bedside at Royal Columbian Hospital after the attack, knowing he wasn't going to wake up but wishing for anything else, when she saw a small, superficial scuff on his hand.

"I did the motherly thing: I put a Band-Aid on it to make it better," Page told the court on Tuesday as part of her victim impact statement.

"I have a constant pain that's with me all the time," she continued, between gasping sobs. "I still catch myself smelling his clothes."

Steffany Page talks to reporters about the impact of her son's death

Steffany Page, whose son Michael Page-Vincelli was killed following a one-punch attack, says the attacker's apology is too late and that he had multiple opportunities to be accountable. 2:05

Sharpe, wearing a dark suit and tie with black hair pulled back into a bun, stared at the carpet and hardly moved as Page read statements for herself and Page-Vincelli's father. 

Sharpe only leaned forward and put his face in his hands when Page addressed him directly, furious and refusing to look at him.

"A real man would've walked away," Page said.

Sharpe, now 42, told the court he was "sorry for every square inch of pain this has caused," though he spoke mostly about the effects the crime has had on his own life and relationships. 

Page-Vincelli's family scoffed at Sharpe's statement and cried.

The sentencing hearing has been adjourned until Friday afternoon.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.