A man who pleaded guilty to firing a handgun outside a Prince George night spot avoided additional jail time thanks in part to an unexplained delay in bringing charges against him.
Tyler Eugene Fetterly, 25, was handed a six-month jail sentence Thursday in Prince George provincial court on three counts to which he pleaded guilty. The sentence is effectively time served, concurrent to the three-year term he’s on for kidnapping.
Court heard that on April 30, 2008, Fetterly and two others drove to the former Joe’s Place, where one of them was to collect a drug debt. An argument with the debtor ensued, and Fetterly got out of the car to intervene.
“In the process of getting out (of the vehicle), a shot was fired into the air and a bullet was lodged in the soffit of an adjacent building,” Crown counsel Cassandra Malfair said.
The trio managed to elude the Mounties and fled.
Fetterly was picked up the next day, when police received a report of a man squatting in a Prince George home, inside which officers found Fetterly and a .45-calibre bullet that contravened a previous firearms prohibition he was under.
“They also found a baseball bat that had a commercial stapler attached to it, in the form of, I suppose, a mace,” Malfair said.
Fetterly was later released and has been behind bars since February 2009 on unrelated matters, including the kidnapping and a pair of assault charges.
Malfair said, however, that although police had a statement implicating Fetterly in the Joe’s Place shooting as early as July 2008, it wasn’t until September 2010 that charges were approved.
“There’s no good explanation” for the delay, she said, explaining in part why she was only seeking a six-month term.
Defence counsel Jason Leblond said his client is trying to “clean up his past,” and found it “quite distressing” when he learned of the newest charges against him.
Leblond said Fetterly had a difficult childhood and later became “immersed in drug use and immersed in that culture and element.”
However, Leblond noted, Fetterly has tried to improve himself while behind bars by finishing his high school education and receiving instruction in safe food handling and construction, among other things
Fetterly appeared by videoconference from a Lower Mainland jail and did not address the court.
Leblond said his client intends to stay in the Lower Mainland upon his expected release in April and is interested in obtaining work later in the Fort St. John area.
Judge Lynne Dollis noted the delay in charging Fetterly, “which, unusually for Prince George, was not caused by insufficient personnel or insufficient judges in the courtrooms,” and agreed to the six-month sentence.
Dollis praised Fetterly for his work while behind bars, and added, “It would be a shame if you lose track of that and go back to your old ways.”