A Kamloops man who stabbed an acquaintance to death three years ago outside a Columbia Street motel has been ordered to spend four years in prison.
James Dylan Sanford, 35, was sentenced on Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court. In January, a jury found him guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter following a trial on one count of second-degree murder.
Sanford fatally stabbed 33-year-old Daniel Thomas Myles outside the Acadian Inn on Sept. 12, 2020.
Myles and Sanford were involved in a protracted dispute in the months leading up to the slaying, during which time Myles sent Sanford threatening text messages and sprayed mace into his suite at the motel. On the day he was killed, Myles is alleged to have poured gasoline near Sanford’s balcony.
Surveillance video played at trial shows Sanford running after Myles and swinging at his back with a knife. Jurors heard Myles was stabbed once in the back. The knife pierced his right lung and he bled to death.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan said Myles’ actions had Sanford living in a state of fear.
“This was not a random occurrence,” she said.
“It occurred after the culmination of several weeks of threatening and violent behaviour by Mr. Myles toward Mr. Sanford, his girlfriend and their pets. Mr. Sanford was living in fear of Mr. Myles.”
But, Donegan said, Sanford crossed a line.
“Mr. Sanford’s actions in responding to that threat were not reasonable in any way, shape or form,” she said.
“Instead of doing the reasonable thing — phoning police — Mr. Sanford took matters into his own hands, intentionally took a risk arming himself with a knife and leaving his room. He took another risk when he saw Mr. Myles and started to chase him.”
Donegan also cited steps Sanford has taken to better his life since the slaying.
“He’s taken many concrete steps to prevent himself from re-engaging in the lifestyle that facilitated this behaviour,” she said.
In addition to the four-year prison sentence, Sanford was ordered to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database. He will also be prohibited from possessing firearms for 10 years once he is released from custody.
After he is given credit for time served, Sanford has a little more than three years left on his sentence.