Love triangle involving prostitute triggered Chilliwack murder

Automatic life sentence as Gerald Dolman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of Robert Splitt

RCMP and paramedics attempt to resuscitate Rob Splitt who was stabbed multiple times in a Chilliwack parking lot on May 3, 2016. (Progress file) Greg Knill/ Progress file RCMP and paramedics attempt to resuscitate Robert Splitt who was stabbed multiple times in a Chilliwack parking lot on May 3, 2016.

The man who killed Robert Splitt – known to his friends as “Igor” — in broad daylight downtown Chilliwack a year and a half ago will spend at least the next 10 years in jail.

And if the judge agrees with Crown counsel’s submissions, that will be 12 years.

Gerald Leslie Dolman admitted killing Splitt when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a surprise move on Oct. 10, something his lawyer Chris Terepocki called a significant mitigating factor.

• READ MORE: Gerald Dolman charged with murder in Chilliwack stabbing

“That is very rare,” Terepocki said of a plea to second-degree murder, a conviction that comes with an automatic life sentence.

The only question for BC Supreme Court Justice Palbinder Shergill is how many years until parole eligibility for Dolman. The minimum is 10, what Dolman is asking for, with Crown counsel Paul Blessin suggesting that 12 years is called for in this case.

The case involved a love triangle between the two men and a woman who worked as a prostitute named Rebecca Burns.

Terepocki said the 65-year-old had spent tens of thousands of dollars over prior months buying drugs for Burns in exchange for sex. But Burns was Splitt’s girlfriend and on the day of the incident, a neighbour told Dolman she had stolen $600 from him.

“That is indeed what kicked off Mr. Dolman’s rage,” Terepocki said, adding that Dolman concluded at that moment that Burns and Splitt may have been bilking him of money for some time.

“Mr. Dolman believed these two were operating as a team to pilfer money from him,” he added.

An hour after finding out about the alleged $600 theft late afternoon on May 6, 2016, and after a cyclist was hit nearby, Dolman ran into the car driven by Splitt in front of the Save-On-Foods at Salish Plaza. Burns was also in the vehicle.

WARNING: Some might find the content of this video disturbing

After Dolman stabbed Splitt in the car, the 49-year-old victim got away briefly but Dolman pursued him, continuing to stab him even on the ground, in front of horrified onlookers at the plaza.

“Our victim in this was no angel,” Blessin told the court adding, however, that nothing he did legitimately triggered the attack.

“He was stabbed multiple times while helpless on the ground.”

Blessin outlined some case law that suggested courts should not go to the default minimum of 10 years before parole eligibility, but rather that judges have the discretion for longer terms, even in cases that do not involve torture or other significant aggravating factors.

He suggested for serious cases that involved some level of planning, 12 to 15 years was suitable, with more serious cases 15 to 20. Given Dolman’s early guilty plea and his lack of a criminal record, Blessin said 12 was the right number.

Terepocki suggested that even at the age of 65 facing 10 years, given his 31 years of sobriety attending Alcoholics Anonymous, Dolman is a good candidate for rehabilitation.

He also took some issue with the pre-sentence report author’s conclusion that Dolman was not remorseful for killing Splitt.

“He comes before this court expressing remorse,” Terepocki said. “He is deeply ashamed for what he did.”

As he has done at all his court appearances, Dolman sat emotionless in the prisoner’s box with a shaved head with a trim white goatee, black-rimmed glasses dressed in prison-issue red sweatshirt and pants.

Justice Shergill said she would give her oral reasons for sentencing on Friday.

READ MORE: Daylight stabbing death preliminary inquiry begins in Chilliwack court


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

Missing North Delta senior found deceased

88-year-old Jarnial Sanghera had been missing since the morning of Friday, May 15

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Dry-grad cancelled, Elgin Park students make donation to food bank

Students donate $1,800 to food bank after being forced to cancel graduation event

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read