One of three people involved in a violent kidnapping and assault faced a sentencing hearing Monday (June 12) at the Chilliwack Law Courts. Evan Arnold, 41, appeared in person before B.C. Provincial Judge Peter La Prairie, staring straight ahead from the prisoner’s box as Crown prosecutor John Lester presented the facts of the crime.
Lester sought six years jail time and defence lawyer Derwin Petri countered with four for the incident that happened April 19, 2021. On that day a male and female came to a residence on Watson Road. The male had been doing some drug deliveries for Arnold and co-accused Makayla Hebert, 26, and she got the idea that he had betrayed her to an ex-boyfriend, telling him where she lived. The victims were tied up and the male was interrogated. Lester showed the court video taken from Arnold’s phone, which he suggested was meant to document a confession.
Lester said Arnold shoved garden scissors up the nose of the female victim and held a machete to her lips, threatening to cut them off. Hebert twice squirted hand sanitizer in her face and mouth.
Lester said the female victim had no ties to drug trafficking. Reading a victim impact statement to the court, she said she went to the house because Hebert said she wanted some ‘girl time,’ and she’ll never forget seeing the male victim tied to a chair with blood dripping down his mouth. She said she was a good kid who never got into trouble and never experienced anything truly traumatic until that day. She said it changed her life forever.
“There’s one thing I can’t get out of my mind and that’s when you saw a tear about to roll down my face and you grabbed me by my throat and told me to suck that tear right back up,” she said. “You’ll never know the thoughts that were going through my head that night. I was scared you were going to kill us, and I’d never see my family again. I lived in fear for so long thinking one of your people were going to come after me.”
Arnold continued to look straight ahead as she spoke.
“I don’t ever want to forgive you for what you put me and my family through,” she said. “I will truly never understand why you did this and quite frankly I don’t care to hear your reasoning.”
After two hours at the Watson residence the two victims were stuffed into the trunk of a Chevy Impala and taken to a remote area, accessed by travelling some 20 kilometres eastbound along forest service roads. After they were removed from the car the assaults continued. Arnold struck the male victim on the head with an imitation handgun and pointed it at Wheeler’s head.
At one point he said, “Are you ready to die?”
Eventually the victims were stripped down to just their shorts and abandoned in the cold and dark. They began a long walk back, and as the sun started to rise they encountered a woman who was camping. She hurried them to Chilliwack General Hospital where they had their injuries checked out. Both talked to police and originally filed false reports that didn’t identify who had attacked them. They said they’d been camping and had been assaulted by people they didn’t know. Lester suggested this was because their true assailants had their ID, knew where they lived and had made threats about what would happen if they talked.
Within hours they changed their mind, providing police with the Watson Road address and the names of Arnold, Hebert and a third co-accused, Dyllon Bradly Hoffman. Arnold was arrested April 20, and has been behind bars since. He’s served 755 days, with time-and-a-half credit bringing him to 37 months and 20 days.
Arnold intended to plead guilty from the moment he was arrested. He originally faced 10 charges and pleaded down to one count of aggravated assault on the male victim, one count of assault with a weapon the female victim and one count each of kidnapping and robbery of both.
La Prairie will deliver a verdict on Arnold at a later date.
Hebert and Hoffman had planned to go to trial. They filed charter applications seeking to have evidence and statements thrown out, but once those applications were denied they too entered guilty pleas. They are awaiting their own sentencing hearings.