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Drug dealer who shot Surrey man gets eight years for manslaughter

With credit for time served, sentence works out to 4 years and 340 days in jail
Surrey homicide victim Christopher Raymond Hartl, 48. (Photo: IHIT)

Darren Ellis Scott has been sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the April 1, 2022 shooting death of Christopher Hartl in Surrey.

Originally charged with second-degree murder, Scott, 42, pleaded down to the lesser offence.

Justice Barbara Norell sentenced him in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster on April 27. She gave Scott 747 days’ credit for pre‑sentence custody.

“With enhanced credit of 1.5 days per one, the total credit is 1,121 days. Therefore, the sentence imposed is a sentence of four years and 340 days in jail, which is in addition to the time you have already spent in custody,” she told Scott.

It reflected the joint submission from the Crown and defence.

READ ALSO: Murder charge laid in Surrey shooting April 1

Hartl, 48, was rushed to hospital after Surrey Mounties responded to a call of a man shot inside a residence in the 12600-block of 97 Avenue at 2:27 p.m. Friday, April 1.

Norell noted in her reasons for sentence that Hartl was a “slight man” who was “dependent on narcotics” and “suffered from a disability such that he needed to use mobility aids to walk any significant distance.”

Scott was his dealer. On April 1, 2022, Scott arrived at Hartl’s residence just after midnight with his brother and a black bag containing guns.

“Several people, in addition to Mr. Hartl and his girlfriend, were present at the residence when they arrived. Mr. Scott and others present used drugs in the living room. Later, on the morning of April 1, 2022, Mr. Scott awoke in a bad mood, and still somewhat under the influence of the drugs he had consumed the night before,” the judge noted. “However, he was aware of his surroundings, and understood right from wrong. Mr. Scott sought to collect a debt from Mr. Hartl, who told him that he could not pay the debt right away but he was doing his best and had paid Mr. Scott some money the night before. Mr. Scott became more upset. Mr. Hartl’s girlfriend offered to pay the debt, but Mr. Scott rebuffed her.”

Hartl was sitting on a living room couch when Scott declared he intended to shoot him in the leg to “teach him a lesson.” Scott then went to the kitchen to get a gun from his bag and, upon returning to the living room, ordered Hartl’s girlfriend to get out, but she refused. “She implored him not to shoot the gun. Mr. Hartl moved into the fetal position on the couch when he saw Mr. Scott with a gun. Mr. Scott shot Mr. Hartl once in the chest as Mr. Hartl sat defenceless on the couch. This took place in front of several other people who were present in the living room,” Norell said.

Hartl died that afternoon.

Victim impact statements containing “palpable grief” from Hartl’s family described him as “the cornerstone of their family, and as being loving, selfless, and a devoted son, brother, father and grandfather, and a cherished member of their family who brought joy and light into their lives.”

“They described Mr. Hartl’s love for his family and friends, his kindness, generosity and compassion to others in the community. He was a talented man with varied interests and skills including reaching the Canadian nationals in gymnastics, and attaining a black belt in Taekwondo. It is clear Mr. Hartl was loved by his family and friends and they miss him terribly,” the judge noted.

Prior to the shooting, Scott already had three convictions for assault with a weapon from October 2005, two convictions related to firearms offences, and before this case his most recent conviction was in 2006 for possession of a loaded/unloaded prohibited or restricted firearm.

“There is then a 16-year gap of no offences until this offence,” Norell noted.

“Mr. Scott expressed to the probation officer and to the family of Mr. Hartl and the court at this hearing, his remorse, and that he takes full responsibility for the terrible consequences of his actions. He wishes to make amends in some way. I accept his expression of remorse is genuine,” the judge decided.

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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