Two more accused in 2019 drug-related murder in Surrey plead guilty

Both accused were 20 years old at the time and one was sentenced to three years in jail and the other, who tried to get rid of evidence, to 18 months of house arrest after the killing

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Two more men have been sentenced for their roles in the killing of a Surrey man in what court heard was a targeted attack over a drug debt on Remembrance Day 2019.

Andrew Baldwin, 30, was stabbed to death on Nov. 11, 2019, while he watched a movie with a friend in a basement apartment.

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Jagpal Singh Hothi, now 24, was charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to three years in prison, with about 3 1/2 months’ credit for pretrial time served, wrote Justice Martha M. Devlin in the first of two recent B.C. Supreme Court judgments.

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Jasman Singh Basran, also 24, who tried to get rid of evidence, was charged with being an accessory after the fact but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to 18 months to be served as a conditional sentence, meaning under curfew in his own home, the judge wrote.

Earlier this summer, Devlin sentenced a third man, Jordan Bottomley, who was found to have stabbed Baldwin six times, once fatally in the heart, in a bloody attack that was over in less than 90 seconds. He also pleaded guilty to manslaughter after being charged with first-degree murder. His sentence of eight years was reduced to three years and 38 days after subtracting the pretrial custody credit.

A fourth person, Munroop Hayer, who wasn’t present at the killing, has been charged with first-degree murder and has yet to face trial.

Devlin wrote in the three separate judgments how Bottomley, Hothi and Baldwin worked for a fourth man in the local drug trade. Hothi was asked by that fourth man to pick up Bottomley and drive him to collect on a drug debt that Baldwin owed.

Hothi called his friend, Basran, who had a Ford F150 truck, to do the driving, without telling Basran where they were going.

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Baldwin and Bottomley had lived together in summer 2019 and both used drugs and trafficked them, Devlin wrote. CCTV footage of the truck parked near Baldwin’s friend’s basement suite showed Bottomley left the truck and was out of sight for one minute and 20 seconds.

Bottomley, wearing layered clothing and gloves and armed with a knife and bear spray, entered the suite and assaulted Baldwin while they wrestled and struggled on a love seat. Baldwin’s friend, identified only as A.B. because his identity is protected by court order, swung a machete at Bottomley to try to stop the attack, cutting him in the head.

Bottomley returned to the truck bloodied and bleeding and, after a short ride, Basran ordered him out of the truck.

Basran and Hothi wiped up the blood, bought cleaning supplies from Walmart and cleaned the truck some more before throwing the supplies and the large knife they found Bottomley had left in the back seat over a fence or out the truck window.

The next day, Basran took his car in to a detailer to be professionally cleaned, and sent a photograph of it to Hothi.

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Devlin assessed each of the men’s blameworthiness, the sentencing principles of denunciation and deterrence, their efforts at rehabilitation and other mitigating and aggravating factors in determining the sentences.

“Mr. Basran’s involvement in the circumstances of the offence was unplanned,” she wrote. “I accept that the seemingly benign act of giving a ride to his friend, Mr. Hothi, suddenly turned into involvement in an extremely serious matter. To be clear, this does not excuse Mr. Basran’s actions. I simply consider it important to remain mindful of how the events at issue unfolded in this case, in sentencing Mr. Basran.”

Determining Hothi’s sentence “has been a particularly difficult exercise” because of “his progress while on bail, together with the circumstances of the offence, the role Mr. Hothi played in Mr. Baldwin’s homicide and the impact of the offence on the community,” and other factors that she said necessitated a jail sentence.

“I reiterate that the determination of a just and appropriate sentence is a highly individualized exercise that goes beyond a purely mathematical calculation,” she said.

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Devlin noted the victim impact statements of Baldwin’s family, in particular his mother, Julie MacDonald, who emotionally addressed the court about the loss of her son.

A few weeks before Andrew was killed, her younger son, Keith Baldwin, 27, had also been murdered. Owen Dale Charpentier has been charged in his killing but has yet to stand trial.

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