'Complete tragedy': Eight-year prison term for driver who killed former UFC fighter

An Edmonton man who pleaded guilty in the hit-and-run death of former UFC fighter Ryan Jimmo was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison.

'A young man died for nothing ... absolutely nothing,' judge says during sentencing hearing

Former UFC fighter Ryan Jimmo was run down and killed in a parking lot just off Whyte Avenue in June 2016. (The Canadian Press)

An Edmonton man who pleaded guilty in the hit-and-run death of former UFC fighter Ryan Jimmo was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison.

Anthony Getschel was given a six-year sentence for manslaughter and had two years added for leaving the scene of an accident.

"The case before me this morning is a complete tragedy," said Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench Justice Paul Belzil. "A young man died for nothing. Absolutely nothing."

Getschel, 26, pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter and hit and run..

He will also face an eight-year driving prohibition after he is released from prison. The judge noted that Getschel had never been in trouble with the law before.

"It's also a complete tragedy regarding a young man who had no criminal record who's going to be sentenced to a serious penitentiary term," Belzil said.

Anthony Getschel was originally charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter and hit and run. (Supplied/Twitter)

Before he was sentenced, Getschel stood in the prisoner's box and apologized to Jimmo's family.

"I'm very sorry for the pain I caused," Getschel said. "I know nothing I can say or do will bring him back. I will never be able to forgive myself for what happened that night."

Ryan Jimmo with his mother, Linda, in July 2010. (Supplied)

Outside court, the victim's mother said she'll never forgive Getschel.

"He can say he's sorry for the next 10 years to me," Linda Jimmo said. "I still don't have my son."

The still-grieving mother said she accepts the eight-year term, though she wanted a longer sentence.

"It didn't matter if it was two years," Jimmo said. "It's not bringing my Ryan back."

'The events that took place that night have haunted me since'

After a night of drinking, Getschel climbed behind the wheel of his pickup truck at about 2 a.m. on June 26, 2016.

He was tailgating a Jeep along Whyte Avenue. When the Jeep pulled into a parking lot, Getschel followed.

Ryan Jimmo, 34, got out of his Jeep and approached the truck. Angry words were exchanged.

As Jimmo walked back to the Jeep, Getschel backed up, then sped toward him. The pickup hit Jimmo, then ran over him.

Getschel fled the scene, and later hid the truck and reported his licence plate had been stolen. He turned himself in to police two days later.

Jimmo with fiance Roxie Reece. (Supplied)

Hours before he was killed, Jimmo had proposed to his girlfriend Roxie Reece. Too excited to sleep, they went for a drive.

In a victim impact statement, Reece said she saw everything that happened that night.

"I know the truth," Reece wrote. "I watched it all play out ... frozen, in shock and horrified."

"I witnessed that truck back up, gear up, turn its wheels and drive at Ryan. It was accelerating to full speed. It hit him, pushed him three car lengths out. It not only hit Ryan, but it ran over him and then fled the scene."

Jimmo was rushed to hospital and died in the emergency room.

Reece said she has since moved and changed jobs as she tries to cope with the loss.

"He taught me how to identify and embrace my strength," Reece wrote. "The very things he taught me were those that also equipped me to get through this."

About the Author

Janice Johnston

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston