No extra credit for prison murder

Alexander Tanasescu pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He wanted time shaved off his nine year sentence

Alex Tanasescu in an undated photograph from his Facebook profile. Tanasescu

A man who viciously attacked another inmate at a Maple Ridge prison will not get extra credit for time spent in segregation.

Supreme court Justice Robert Crawford ruled Friday there was no evidence to justify a credit of 1.5 days for each day Alexander Dinu Tanasescu  has spent in custody.

“I was driven to the conclusion that he lost his privileges because of his own circumstances,” said Justice Crawford, delivering a judgement in New Westminster Supreme Court.

Charged with second-degree murder, Tanasescu, 30, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the brutal attack that eventually killed Blair Thomas Cody.

He was sentenced to nine years in prison but credited for the 922 days he has spent in custody, reducing the sentence to six years, five months and 21 days.

Looking directly at Tanasescu, Justice Crawford urged him to change his life.

“It’s a turning point for Mr. Tanasescu – 30 years – you’ve got a lot of life to live,” he said.

Cody was attacked on May 19, 2010, a few hours after he arrived at the 256th Street provincial prison for breaching probation on a drug possession charge.

The court heard the fight was sparked after Cody called Tanasescu a “goof.” It was also payback because Cody had attacked a friend of Tanasescu while incarcerated at the North Fraser Pre-Trial Centre.

Tanasescu was captured on video landing a punch that knocked Cody to the floor.

Tanasescu then “stomped, kicked and punched” his head. He was seen leaving twice only to return seconds later and continue the assault in front of prison guards, landing blows to Cody’s head 25 times.

The attack left a boot print on Cody’s face. The 36-year-old never gained consciousness and remained in a vegetative state until he died 10 months later.

Justice Crawford noted that when he was young, when someone was knocked out, the fight was over.

These days, he added, he presided over too many court cases where the attacks continue even after someone is rendered unconscious.

“It’s not so much a comment on Mr. Tanasescu but the society he is living currently, all the rules are forgotten,” said Justice Crawford, adding he has trouble watching the televised bloody battles of mixed martial arts.

In denying Tanasescu extra credit, he noted the man was placed in segregation and enhanced supervision units because of his own behaviour. Tanasescu was often aggressive, hostile to staff and threatened other inmates.

Originally from Romania, Tanasescu’s parents fled their country in 1992 and arrived in Canada as refugees when he was 12.

He grew up in Penticton and Prince George. His criminal record begins as a youth at age 13.

Cody, the man he killed, was no angel either. When Cody was attacked, he had just arrived at the prison for breaching probation on a drug possession charge.

Justice Crawford noted that Cody had a long record of violence including stabbings and assaults.

“I know little about Mr. Cody but everybody has a family and everybody has people that don’t see all the warts we carry,” he said.

Cody’s sister Stacey sobbed loudly as Justice Crawford detailed the vicious beating her brother received. She heaved a sigh of relief when Tanasescu was denied the extra credit.

Quoting from her victim impact statement, Justice Crawford noted the loss of her youngest brother has been devastating. The sister travelled daily from Langley to visit her brother while he lay in a coma at Royal Columbian Hospital. She lost wages and eventually lost her job. She miscarried twice.

“The pain will never leave her,” Justice Crawford noted.

“Nothing will ever bring [her brother] back.”