British Columbia

Crown seeks 3-year sentence for B.C. woman who injected teen boyfriend with morphine, killing him

The Crown is seeking a three-year prison sentence for a young Penticton woman who injected her 17-year-old boyfriend with morphine to ease his pain, killing him.

Court heard Kiera Bourque twice injected Devon Blackmore with morphine in 2017 to ease his pain

Devon Blackmore and Kiera Bourque were in a relationship in 2017 when Blackmore died of a drug overdose after he asked Bourque to inject him with morphine to ease symptoms of undiagnosed pneumonia. (Kiera Bourque/Facebook)

In April 2017, Devon Blackmore was 17 years old and just three months away from graduating high school in Penticton, B.C., when he went into a seizure and died on the floor of his girlfriend Kiera Bourque's room.

Bourque, who was 20 at the time and living with her father, had injected Blackmore with two doses of morphine in order to ease the pain he was experiencing from undiagnosed pneumonia, according to Crown lawyer Andrew Vandersluys, who addressed the court at Bourque's sentencing hearing on Friday.

Earlier this year Bourque pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter.

The Crown is seeking a three-year prison sentence and argued that in injecting Blackmore with morphine, Bourque was aware of the risk of death or serious bodily harm, but she gave him the drug anyway.

Bourque and Blackmore had been dating for three months prior to his death, the court heard.

Blackmore had been staying with Bourque and was ill with what the couple believed was the flu or bronchitis, the lawyer said.

Using unprescribed morphine to treat pain

Blackmore was not a hard drug user, but Bourque was using unprescribed morphine to deal with pain from a spinal injury she sustained in 2014.

Her lawyer, Paul Varga, told the court that doctors prescribed Bourque morphine in pill form for pain relief but the medication was cut off in 2016 and she sought out illegal drugs.

Before Blackmore's death Bourque had encouraged him to go to hospital for his worsening symptoms, the court heard.

On April 1, 2017 Blackmore asked Bourque to give him morphine for his pain and she injected him with what she later told RCMP officers was "a small amount of morphine," Vandersluys said.

The next day she injected Blackmore again with morphine and he later went into seizure and fell to the floor.

Bourque called 911 but when paramedics arrived they found Blackmore not breathing and they pronounced him dead, Vandersluys said.

An autopsy revealed Blackmore had a high concentration of morphine in his blood and the cause of death was determined to be a drug overdose. 

The autopsy also noted Blackmore's lungs were affected by severe pneumonia, which was a contributing factor in his death, Vandersluys said.

Devon Blackmore was just three months away from graduating high school when he died of a drug overdose in April 2017. (Everden Rust Funeral Services)

Some of Blackmore's family members read victim impact statements in court, telling of the constant grief and suffering his family has felt since his death.

Devon's mother Lorrie, described waking each morning to again realize her son had died.

'I will never get to see Devon again'

"Most days I feel like a dissociative robot," she said.

"I will never get to see Devon again ... I will never be able to hug him and tell him how much I love him ever again."

Carly Blackmore was 14 when her brother died.

In her statement — read into the court record by Vandersluys — she described being thrown into a life of anger and depression.

"Every holiday, every birthday, every Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas has a heavy shadow of sadness that he is not with us," she said.

In arguing for the three-year prison sentence Vandersluys said Bourque has deflected responsibility for Blackmore's death, citing a psychologist's report where Bourque was quoted saying: "I don't think [Devon] would want me to accept responsibility. It was his choice and it had nothing to do with me."

Varga is asking for a three-year suspended sentence to be held in the community with strict conditions.

He told the court Bourque has not used drugs for two years, is in counselling, and volunteering in the community.

"Her intention was not to harm Mr. Blackmore. Her intention was to seek help for him," Varga said.

Judge Gary Weatherhill is expected to deliver his sentence on Sept 23.

About the Author

Brady Strachan

CBC Reporter

Brady Strachan is a CBC reporter based in Kelowna, B.C. Besides Kelowna, Strachan has covered stories for CBC News in Winnipeg, Brandon, Vancouver and internationally. Follow his tweets @BradyStrachan

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