British Columbia

Sentencing hearing for killer of Stanley Park photographer abruptly adjourned

The sentencing hearing for a man who stabbed a photographer on the Stanley Park seawall more than three years ago, ground to halt Friday afternoon after he began shouting that he wanted to fire his lawyer.

Tyler Anthony Lagimodiere pleaded guilty after the 2017 death of Lubomir Kunik

Lubomir Kunik was found dead in Stanley Park on Feb. 1, 2017. Tyler Anthony Lagimodiere pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with Kunik's death in December 2019. (Juraj Salak/forevermissed.com)

A man who stabbed a unsuspecting stranger to death on the Stanley Park seawall in 2017 told undercover officers he did it to silence voices he'd been hearing in his head for years, B.C. Supreme Court heard Friday before the hearing was suddenly adjourned until Monday.

Tyler Anthony Lagimodiere, then 28, told one undercover officer he spent weeks thinking about murder before walking to the seawall between Second Beach and Third Beach on Feb. 1, 2017, where he waited with a hidden machete for "a random guy to walk by."

Lagimodiere, now 31, had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Lubomir Kunik.

His sentencing hearing began with submissions from Crown counsel in the morning, but came to halt after Lagimodiere began shouting loudly in court that he wanted to fire his lawyer.

Earlier in the day, the court heard Kunik, an avid nature photographer, was attacked from behind during a walk along the waterfront. He died after being cut or stabbed 67 times, according to an agreed statement of facts read aloud in court.

Lagimodiere was arrested and charged with Kunik's murder on Jan. 8, 2018, after a six-month "Mr. Big" undercover operation by Vancouver police. Lagimodiere pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in December.

As second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, the sentencing hearing was held to determine when Lagimodiere might be eligible for parole.

Investigation centred around black machete

Two days after Kubik was killed, police officers investigating his death found a black machete and its sheath between the shoreline and the Second Beach Pool. Kubik's DNA was found on the blade.

Police matched Lagimodiere to DNA on a rope wrapped around the machete's handle. Court documents said Lagimodiere's DNA had been on file since 2009, when he submitted a sample as part of his sentence in a violent home invasion.

An undercover operation was launched the following July. 

Lagimodiere was arrested in Jan. 8, 2018, after describing the machete used in Kunik's killing to the undercover officers — information only someone involved in the murder could have known, as police had kept details around the murder weapon a secret.

Lagimodiere later described his motive and the killing to one of the officers, saying he'd grown "tired" of the voices in his head after they started five years prior.

He said he wasn't looking for "anyone in particular," according to the statement of facts, but waited for "a random guy walking by, minding his own business."

Photographer travelled the world

After killing Kunik, Lagimodiere said he went home and had a beer.

Kunik's friends said they suspected the amateur photographer had been in the park the night of his death to take pictures of the night sky.

Kunik, known as "Lubo" or "Bobor" among friends, was born in Slovakia and moved to Vancouver when he was 39. It said he had a "lifelong passion" for photography, travelling the world over and taking pictures of mountain landscapes.

The significant issue at sentencing Friday was Lagimodiere's mental health. Crown submitted Lagimodiere's parole ineligibility should be 15 to 18 years, plus a number of conditions. 

With files from Bethany Lindsay and Meera Bains

now