British Columbia

Man who stabbed Good Samaritan to death sentenced to 6 years in prison

Kenneth Bryson Williams was originally convicted of second-degree murder for stabbing Robert Tyson Smith to death on Granville Street in 2014, but a new trial was ordered on appeal.

However, Kenneth Bryson Williams will be released within a day due to time already served

Robert Tyson Smith, left, got out of his taxi on Granville Street to try to stop two men from kicking and yelling at it. Kenneth Bryson Williams stabbed Smith to death during the fight that followed. (Adam Smith)

A man who stabbed a stranger to death in front of onlookers in Vancouver's entertainment district has been sentenced to six years in prison plus two years probation after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter.

Kenneth Bryson Williams was originally convicted of second-degree murder in November 2016 and handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years but the conviction was overturned in February.

The B.C. Court of Appeal ordered a new trial after finding the original trial court judge had inadequately answered a question from the jury, amounting to a miscarriage of justice.

Williams' defence lawyer told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman a maximum prison sentence of five years would be appropriate for the manslaughter plea.

Williams apologized to Smith's family in the courtroom in a prepared statement after making his plea and before he was sentenced.

"I understand that the family and friends are forever in pain due to my actions and that there is no apology that will suffice for the pain I caused," said Williams, dressed in a red prison sweatsuit.

"I will never forget this or forgive myself for what I have done and this will be something I regret for the rest of my life."

History of alcoholism

Court heard that Williams' history of alcoholism was a "significant factor" in the deadly altercation and said Williams' young age at the time of the offence and absence of a criminal record were mitigating factors.

The lawyer added that Williams' guilty plea and "extremely remorseful" view should also factor into his sentence.

During his original trial, Williams mounted a defence based on the level of his intoxication. Court heard Williams had run up a sizeable bar tab and was headed to a liquor store to get more before the incident.

Silverman sentenced Williams to two years probation plus six years in prison. Prosecutors say he has already served the equivalent of six years and seven months. As a result, they say Williams will spend one more day in jail before beginning his probation.

Williams was drunk when he stabbed Robert Tyson Smith to death after a fight broke out between them on Granville Street in February 2014.

Smith had gotten out of his cab and tried to intervene in a fight that broke out in February 2014 between the driver and Williams after Williams hit or kicked the vehicle while walking down the street.

Williams, then 23, stabbed Smith in the chest and shoulder in the ensuing fight. Smith, 28, died of his injuries.

With files from Rhianna Schmunk and the Canadian Press