Kidnapping brings jail terms

Federal time is what a trio of South Okanagan people were given on Friday at the Penticton courthouse for the kidnapping and assault of an Oliver man.

Federal time is what a trio of South Okanagan people were given on Friday at the Penticton courthouse for the kidnapping and assault of an Oliver man.

Nicolette Miller and her common-law partner Leonard Thompson received four-and-a-half years of jail time while Miller’s son, Andrew Miller, received three years for the incident a jury found them guilty of in April.

Crown counsel Catherine Crockett painted the picture of Nicolette Miller being the ringleader in the series of events that occurred on Feb. 28, 2009 that led the group to kidnap admitted drug dealer Frank Guenther in Oliver behind the Royal Bank and transport him to Pyramid Park beach near Summerland. At Pyramid Park they made him strip and delivered him to two men who assaulted Guenther and dragged him to Okanagan Lake. Guenther swam out in the icy water as a last ditch attempt to save himself. He testified that people from shore threw rocks at him, and when he believed the group left and it was safe to return to shore he ran to Highway 97 to flag down a driver for help. Guenther’s injuries from both the assault during the drive and at Pyramid Park ranged from scratches and open wounds to bruises, broken ribs and eight broken teeth.

Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes dismissed the notion that Nicolette was the sole instigator that evening, giving her partner Thompson an equal amount of jail time for playing a main role in the series of events. Holmes said it was Nicolette’s trickery that enticed Guenther to meet up with the group when she phoned him pretending to be a woman Guenther had a romantic interest in and arranged for them to meet. The judge said Andrew had no involvement in the planning of the incident and less involvement, according to evidence heard, of the assault. Holmes also stated that all three had, in varying degrees, assaulted Guenther during the drive from Oliver to the Thompson ranch located south of Vaseux Lake, where they switched vehicles, and later during the drive out to Pyramid Park. Evidence was given during the trial that Nicolette told Guenther it was going to be “the worst day of his life,” and if the men they were meeting (who were never identified during the trial) came by boat he wouldn’t make it through the night. The court also heard evidence that Thompson suggested he was hired by the unknown men to deliver Guenther to them.

“I am very sorry for all the wrong things I have done and I am ashamed,” Nicolette told the court on Friday, adding it was her addiction to drugs that led her to the wrong choices. “I do have remorse for Frank Guenther. I never knew what was going to happen to Frank. I don’t wish to cause harm to anyone.”

The judge said the jury dismissed the defence’s case that the trio had simply offered Guenther a ride to Pyramid Park to meet his supplier so he could re-load and then in turn sell them some crack cocaine. The jury concluded each of them understood they were delivering Guenther for a beating, as evidence had been presented during the trial that they knew Guenther had experienced some degree of violence the week prior because of an overdue drug debt. All three of the accused offered apologies either in person during the sentencing or by letter to the judge.

“I accept all three of the offenders regret that they let themselves do what they have done. They have brought shame to themselves and their families,” said Holmes.

The court stayed the charge of unlawful confinement or imprisonment that the jury also found the trio guilty of.


Just Posted

A proactive approach to the housing crisis

City staff are recommending Penticton help prepare affordable housing proposals

Summerland’s Justin Kripps completes first double-medal weekend of career

High-powered Canadian bobsledders celebrate four-man silver at World Cup in Igls

Frank Venables Theatre recipient of Canada Cultural Spaces Grant

The Franks Venables Theatre in Oliver has some new gear, thanks to… Continue reading

Passersby help stop spread of Cawston coop fire

Two people driving by Saturday woke a family and helped stop the spread of a fire in a chicken coop

Blowing snow, slippery sections on Okanagan Connector

Compact snow, poor visibility on Highway 97 from Pennask Summitt to Brenda Mines.

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

B.C. concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

EDITORIAL: Putting #MeToo to work in your workplace

Workers from top to bottom need to stand together against the bully of sexual harassment

Meningococcal clinics open this Sunday

Interior Health is stepping up efforts to get young people vaccinated against Meningococcal.

Most Read