Nfld. & Labrador

Justin Wiseman sentenced to 7½ years for robbery, arson

Justin Wiseman's troubles started long before a seven-hour standoff with police in 2018.

Wiseman held a standoff with police in Mount Pearl that lasted 7 hours

Justin Wiseman was sentenced to 7½ years in prison on Wednesday. With credit for time already served, Wiseman has a little over three years left to serve. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

Justin Wiseman, a man described as careening down a path of trauma and self-destruction, will have a few more years behind bars to work on his problems.

A Supreme Court judge sentenced Wiseman, 28, on Wednesday to 7½ years in prison for robbing a convenience store while wearing a mask and then torching a house during a standoff with police.

With time served, he has a little over three years left to serve.

Justice Robert Stack was sympathetic to Wiseman, who suffered through an abusive childhood.

"Mr. Wiseman is a man fatigued by his life, including his life in prison," Stack said, paraphrasing a medical report done on Wiseman before his sentencing.

Growing up in a troubled home, Wiseman was exposed to addiction and domestic abuse from a young age. The things he endured as a child have haunted him throughout his adult life, according to an expert report, as Wiseman turned to alcohol in attempts to subdue his problems.

Wiseman has a cigarette while dozens of Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers surround a property on Jersey Avenue in Mount Pearl during a standoff on March 13, 2018. (Submitted)

In a previous court appearance, Wiseman said his relationship with alcohol only made things worse. He expressed remorse to the cashier he robbed on March 13, 2018, and said he never wanted to instil fear in a person like that again.

According to the cashier, Wiseman approached the counter with a knife and a mask over his face. She made a few failed attempts to open the cash register, with her hands shaking, and Wiseman apologized and promised not to hurt her. He never raised his voice.

After going back to a house on Jersey Avenue in Mount Pearl, Wiseman engaged in a standoff with police. After more than seven hours ticked by, Wiseman was taken from the home on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance.

Two hours later, firefighters were called to the house after thick smoke billowed out. During the trial, it was revealed police found a charred knife and a burnt hammer in the fireplace.

The Crown alleged he also burned his clothes, cash and cigarettes, but the judge said there was no evidence of that.

Wiseman enters the courtroom on Wednesday, prior to being sentenced to 7½ years for an armed robbery and arson in March 2018. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

He's been in custody ever since, and will get time-and-a-half credit for the days he's already served.

Stack said there was evidence Wiseman had turned a corner while going through this trial. In a letter to the judge, Wiseman said hearing the testimony of the store clerk was a "revelation" for him.

He's undergone addictions counselling, is reading self-help books and working towards his high school equivalency.

After sentencing him to 7½ years, Stack wished him luck and said he hopes Wiseman can become the man he wrote about becoming.

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