Bradley Wade Charters was manipulated by his girlfriend into attacking her ex-husband with a knife, a Surrey Provincial Court sentencing hearing heard.
Charters, 48, was originally charged with attempted murder for the bloody May 1, 2010, assault inside a White Rock house in the 15800-block of Goggs Avenue.
Following a two-day preliminary hearing in December of 2011, Charters pleaded guilty in January to the lesser offence of aggravated assault.
At his sentencing hearing before Judge Paul Dohm on Monday (June 4), Crown prosecutor Liane O’Grady said Charters should serve seven to nine years in prison, while defence lawyer Craig Sicotte argued for a less severe sentence of two years less a day.
Charters, a skinny, frail-looking man with flecks of grey in his hair, sat quietly as the prosecution and defence lawyers both told the judge that Charters was enthralled by his girlfriend at the time of the attack.
Her exact motives remain unknown because she committed suicide by a drug overdose a few months after the attack, but there was some speculation it might have something to do with life insurance, the hearing was told.
In her submissions, O’Grady said the woman convinced Charters to carry out the attack by telling him her ex-husband had committed a serious transgression involving one of their daughters.
O’Grady did not disclose details of the allegations, but said there was a police investigation of the claims and no charges were ever laid.
She asked the judge to use only initials to identify the husband as “F.C.” and the daughter as “A.” when writing his decision, to spare them from the “whiff” of the unproven accusations.
Whatever the alleged offence was, O’Grady said it was enough to incite the normally mild-mannered Charters into lurking in a dark room with a can of pepper spray and a knife when his girlfriend invited the ex-husband over.
When F.C. arrived, Charters emerged from a dark side room, wearing goggles and gloves.
He sprayed the husband in the face with pepper spray and stabbed him over and over in the back and abdomen.
“It’s something that could come out of a horror movie,” O’Grady said.
The only reason the victim survived, O’Grady said, was because he was suspicious about being invited over after three months of no contact.
When F.C. pulled up at the Goggs Avenue house, the man called his oldest son on his cellphone to let him know where he was.
And though Charters tried to break the cellphone to prevent F.C. from calling for help, O’Grady said the wounded man was able to hit redial.
The call went to his quick-thinking son, who dialed police.
The victim was in so much pain, O’Grady said, that he wanted the police who arrived to shoot him.
The wounded man spent 20 days in hospital and was unable to work for another two months.
“It’s only happenstance that this was not a murder,” O’Grady said.
In his written victim impact statement, F.C. said he still suffers pain and numbness.
“I don’t know why he thought he had the right to take my life,” the man said.
His four children have suffered severe emotional fallout from his near-murder and the suicide of their mother, the man added, and he is concerned about their long-term prospects.
F.C. attended the hearing, but did not speak.
A court-ordered psychiatric assessment rated Charters intelligence as borderline, and his personality as passive and easily manipulated.
He has a history of being taken advantage of by people, including his few girlfriends, O’Grady said, but that does not excuse what he did.
Charter had “free will,” O’Grady said, and he should have exercised it to refuse his girlfriend’s demand.
Sicotte argued for a lesser term, saying his client pleaded guilty and was used by a girlfriend who had a track record of manipulating people, including her children and ex-husband.
Charters has no previous history of violence, Sicotte noted.
“He’s never won a fight in his life.”
The judge is scheduled to deliver his sentence Thursday (June 7).