Man with ‘atrocious’ record sentenced

Penticton teen, who later died of an accidental overdose, told police she was introduced to injecting drugs by the repeat offender.

A 19-year-old Penticton woman, who later died of an accidental overdose, told police she was introduced to injecting drugs by a repeat offender in the Penticton area.

Anthony Donavin Werden, 24, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 months jail time for possession of a stolen vehicle, two counts of obstructing a peace officer, breaking and entering, multiple breaches of probation and failure to appear in court as required relating to incidents in March.

Nelson Selamaj, Werden’s defence counsel objected to the teen’s statements about Werden introducing her to injecting drugs being allowed the sentencing proceedings.

“There’s no information leading from these allegations that the Crown is making. The witness is not here for me to interview her,” Selamaj said.

“Respectfully, there’s no information that comes from these allegations and that’s not why Mr. Werden is before the court,” Selamaj continued.

“It’s a pretty touchy subject,” Werden interjected via video from the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.

“I know it is. I’ve been sitting here for 27-and-a-half years. I know what’s wheat and what’s chaff and I’m not sentencing you for anything that’s not in front of the court,” said Judge Gail Sinclair.

On March 26, 2015 police received reports of a suspicious occurrence on Roy Avenue and found Werden with the teen.  Werden attempted to run away and when police caught up to him there was a five-minute struggle before he was eventually handcuffed.

Werden was released with a promise to appear in court, but failed to do so on April 1. The next day, six days after being released from custody, police received reports of a stolen vehicle. The Drug Task Force was simultaneously searching for Werden due to outstanding warrants. Werden was located at the home of a known associate where the stolen red 1990 Ford Ranger was found as well.

An officer pulled his vehicle up behind the Ford Ranger and found Werden and the teen to be inside. Werden put the truck into reverse and hit the police vehicle. The officer drew her gun and yelled at Werden telling him he was under arrest. Werden climbed over top of the teen and attempted to flee out of the passenger door.

After a chase involving multiple officers, Werden was once again arrested. Upon examination of the vehicle police located break-in equipment including bolt cutters and screwdrivers and found the ignition of the vehicle had been broken off.

Police also received reports earlier that day there had been damage to three vehicles in the parking lot of Total Restoration Services on Dawson Avenue. Surveillance footage obtained by police identified Werden on multiple cameras during the time that the damages, totalling $450, occurred.

Crown counsel Nashina Devji called Werden’s criminal record “absolutely atrocious” saying he has spent significant periods of time in jail and calling him a “well-rounded offender.”

Werden was convicted of theft under $5,000, assault and breach of probation. He was sentenced to time served in February. Devji said the teen  met Werden after his release from custody.

“Up until that time, the police had no involvement with her,” Devji said.

Selamaj said the facts are not in dispute, but noted the pre-sentence report said that Werden had a “turbulent upbringing.” Selamaj also said that Werden has been in solitary confinement since his April 2 arrest. He cited reports from KRCC staff saying that Werden was placed in a separate unit because he had been assaulted by other inmates, and suffered a broken finger, but that his behaviour had improved.

Werden became emotional when given a chance to speak and said he doesn’t “want to die.”

“Ever since I got prescription medication from a  doctor, I became a junkie. It happened so fast. My life is spiralling out of control. Prison is not helping me, you guys don’t seem to see that. I need help.”

“If her death doesn’t turn the light on for you nothing will,” Judge Sinclair said before giving Werden his sentence. “Here’s a young lady who was still, I think, a teenager, dies needlessly. If that doesn’t turn on the light, nothing will sir.”


Just Posted

Nature Wise: Thoughts in parting

Bob Handfield passes Nature Wise column on

Bob Ross is coming to Penticton in 2020

32 of the late painter and TV celebrity’s works will be on display at the Penticton Art Gallery

Princess Maggie presents Children’s Winter Carnival on Dec. 14

The Leadership class is hosting the event from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

Police plan forum in Hedley to address resident concerns

Princeton RCMP will hold a meeting in Hedley this month, to address… Continue reading

Interior Health finds Penticton’s fatal overdose rate ‘concerning’

The rate has been consistenly increasing since 2015

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Upgrades approved for Olalla Water System

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen to spend up to $225,000 for upgrades

Noxious odour detected at Summerland Health Centre

Staff felt nauseous following incident on morning of Dec. 5

Okanagan Glee club sells out Bohemian Rhapsody

Vernon Community Music School shows at Powerhouse Theatre this weekend

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Upgrades approved for Oliver and Keremeos landfill sites

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen approves $300,000 expense

Secwepemc knowledge-keeper’s contributions recognized by Province of B.C.

Louis Thomas one of 18 people to receive B.C.’s Medal of Good Citizenship

Six B.C. municipalities accepted as interveners in Supreme Court of Canada carbon-pricing case

Victoria, Vancouver, Squamish, Richmond, Nelson and Rossland have intervener status

Funds approved for Keremeos Fire Department

$12,000 authorized for purchase of an intrusion and access control system

Most Read