The family of a young man who died from a morphine overdose administered by his girlfriend are disappointed with the sentence handed down to the woman, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Kiera Bourque, 24, was ordered to serve one year in prison, followed by one year of house arrest, and two years probation with conditions Wednesday (Sept. 23) in Penticton Supreme Court for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore. He was 17 at the time of his death.
In an emotional statement following the proceedings, Devon’s mother, Lorrie Blackmore, expressed her and her family’s displeasure for what they view as a light sentence.
Mitigating factors in the case cited by Justice Weatherill included the fact Bourque entered a guilty plea after the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry, accepted responsibility, and did not put Blackmore’s family through a trial.
Lorrie Blackmore noted that Bourque’s defence lawyer closed his arguments by mentioning several times that Bourque saved Blackmore’s family the “pain and anguish” of a trial.
“We wanted a trial so everyone knew how Devon came to be lying in that hallway of that apartment building…”
At the time of his death Blackmore was suffering from pneumonia. His illness lead to Bourque administering the fatal dose of morphine.
“Despite all we do not know, we know one thing for sure – there are other choices that should have been made,” Blackmore’s mother read from her statement, surrounded by friends and family.
“As Devon lay with a high fever struggling to catch his breath, his lungs filling with pneumonia, she should have called her parents, she should have phoned Devon’s parents, she should have dialed 911.
“Instead she chose to melt down her illegally obtained, non-prescription morphine and inject my son not once, but twice.”
Blackmore was not a consumer of hard drugs, was allergic to morphine, and had reacted poorly to it in the past. According to Bourque, he did not inform her of this.
In the midst of a provincial opioid crisis, Blackmore’s mother pleaded for harder sentencing in cases similar to her son’s.
“At every trial we are setting a precedent every time a lesser sentence is handed down, making it easier for the next defendant and harder for the victims,” she said.
“This was a senseless, preventable act carried out in the most reckless and careless way.
“These light sentences are not acceptable and are an embarrassment to the victims. There must be greater repercussions. There must be a heavier onus placed on those who take another life into their own hands.
“Devon’s life deserves more than this… Devon would have wanted to live. Devon deserved better. Devon deserved life.”