Mistaken identity at birthday party led to fatal stabbing

Christopher Giroux, 46, was beaten, robbed and stabbed at a birthday party in September 2016. His two killers targeted the wrong man.

One of Christopher Giroux's killers given seven-year prison sentence Friday

Christopher Giroux, 46, was beaten, robbed and fatally stabbed in September, 2016, in a case of mistaken identity. (Connie Loeder)

On the day of her party, the birthday girl wanted to celebrate with some crystal meth.

That afternoon, she invited a dealer to her apartment. But the man was rude, and had in the past once pulled her girlfriend's hair.

She and her friends hatched a plan to lure the dealer back that evening, so he could be beaten and robbed.

On his way over, the dealer got arrested. He never showed up.

Christopher Giroux did.

When he arrived at the party, Giroux was the one beaten, robbed and stabbed in a case of mistaken identity. He later collapsed naked in the street and died in a hospital operating room.

On Friday, Levi Simpson, one of the two men who attacked Giroux that night in September 2016, was sentenced to seven years in prison for manslaughter.

Last year his accomplice, Farrell Duncan, was given a six-year sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Simpson knew Giroux wasn't the man who was supposed to be targeted that night, but he was high on crystal meth at the time, according to an agreed statement of facts.

At the party, Simpson and Duncan put on masks to hide their identities and went into a bedroom to confront Giroux. He was sitting down when the two men started to punch and kick him.

The men ordered Giroux to turn over his wallet, cellphone and drugs, then told him to strip.

During the attack he was stabbed three times.

Victim collapsed in pool of blood

Told by the hostess to get Giroux out of her apartment, the two men forced their victim out and down the stairs. He left a trail of blood in his wake.

By the time Giroux got away from the building at 10719 110th St., he was naked and carrying his shirt. He walked down the street and collapsed in a pool of blood.

A taxi driver called 911. Giroux, 46, was rushed to hospital, where he died during emergency surgery. An autopsy found the fatal wound had been deep enough to pierce his heart.

The apartment building at 110th Street and 107th Avenue where Christopher Giroux was fatally stabbed Sept. 24, 2016. (Dave Bajer/CBC )

After the sentencing hearing on Friday, the victim's angry mother called both sentences "a joke."

"It turned out the way I said it was going to turn out, when I talked to the Crown prosecutors at the very beginning," Connie Loeder said outside the courthouse. "The fact that they weren't tried together, one was going to blame the other and this would be the outcome

"All of that came true."

Loeder said she is haunted by images of her son.

"The only thing I could think of was how scared he must have been," she said. "On the street, never mind being naked. But knowing that his life was leaving him. Just with every beat of his heart, it was slowly leaving him, and he must have been terrified."

Before he was sentenced, Simpson, 29, asked his lawyer to read an apology he had written.

He said he was ready to face the consequences of his actions and "feels guilt and remorse" every day.

"I would like to apologize sincerely to the family of Christopher Giroux," Simpson wrote. "I will always carry this guilt and hope that someday there may be forgiveness."

Outside court, Loeder said she won't accept the apology.

'Tragic' childhood mistreatment

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Brian Burrows said he took Simpson's childhood and past into consideration in passing sentence.

"The mistreatment he received as a child is tragic," Burrows said.

The court was told Simpson was raised by his grandmother on a Manitoba reserve; she died when he was 10. After that he moved back and forth between his drug-addicted, homeless mother and a father who was often intoxicated by drugs and alcohol.

Simpson began using drugs at age eight and alcohol at age 10. The court was told he was frequently physically and sexually abused by family members.

His lengthy criminal record included a conviction in 2009 for the aggravated sexual assault and forcible confinement of a seven-year old girl. He has spent less than a year of his adult life outside of custody.

Connie Loeder called the sentences given to her son's killers "a joke." (Trevor Wilson/CBC )

The judge gave Simpson 44 months credit for time already served. He still has 40 months left to serve on his seven-year sentence.

A number of Giroux's family members angrily left the courtroom when they heard Simpson will remain behind bars for just over three more years.

"If he would have gotten more of a sentence, that would say my son was worth something," Loeder said. "He meant something. He was somebody."

About the Author

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