12-year sentence sought for man who posed as cop in deadly B.C. home invasion

Crown and defence lawyers are jointly seeking a 12-year sentence for a man who posed as a police officer in a deadly home invasion in Vancouver three years ago.

Sentencing submissions were underway Friday for Pascal Bouthillette, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the Jan. 31, 2021 home invasion that left 78-year-old Usha Singh dead.

Click to play video: 'Man pleads guilty to charge in killing of 78-year-old Vancouver woman'

Man pleads guilty to charge in killing of 78-year-old Vancouver woman

Bouthillette was originally charged with first-degree murder in the killing.

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Crown prosecutor Jacinta Lawton said Friday that Bouthillette and Sandy Parisian, who has already been sentenced for his role in the attack, were motivated by greed and had planned to use force in the deadly break-in.

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They “posed as police officers preying on Ms. Singh’s trust” and violated the older and vulnerable woman in her own home, Lawton said.

Bouthillette has a lengthy criminal record, including 51 convictions mostly for property crime but also assault and uttering threats.

His record includes six break-and-enter convictions since 2017, and he had been released on Dec. 9, 2020 — less than two months before the deadly attack — for a previous break-in, the court heard.

Click to play video: '7 year sentence for man who dressed as cop in Vancouver home invasion'

7 year sentence for man who dressed as cop in Vancouver home invasion

Bouthillette’s lawyer said he experienced hardship as a child and turned to drugs to cope with the trauma of his upbringing.

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“His circumstances don’t excuse his conduct towards Ms. Singh but they help explain it,” defence counsel Rebecca McConchie told the court.

She added that Bouthillette is “haunted” by the death, and has worked hard to beat his addiction while in custody.

The court saw video evidence Friday showing Bouthillette and Parisian, who were dressed in jackets with ‘Police’ written on them, leaving Singh’s home around 7:30 a.m. the day of the attack and getting in a taxi.

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The court heard the pair stopped for Bouthillette to buy cigarettes before continuing on to a homeless encampment in Strathcona Park.

Police didn’t find Singh until almost 11:30 a.m. after a neighbour called in a wellness check. Officers found her lying in a pool of blood on her bathroom floor with two black eyes and a zip tie around her wrist. She died two days later in hospital.

The court heard police arrested Bouthillette on Feb. 2, and that a search of his trailer found clothing worn during the home invasion, cards in Singh’s name and her blood on his pants.

Justice Kathleen Ker has yet to render her decision on the joint sentencing submission.

If she accepts the 12-year proposal, Bouthillette would serve just over seven more years in prison after credit for time served.


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