MacPherson pleads guilty to manslaughter for 2014 stabbing

A Yukon man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, avoiding a four-week trial. Michael MacPherson entered the plea on Feb. 1. He was originally charged with second-degree murder in the 2014 stabbing death of Tanner Sinclair.

A Yukon man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, avoiding a four-week trial.

Michael MacPherson entered the plea on Feb. 1. He was originally charged with second-degree murder in the 2014 stabbing death of Tanner Sinclair.

MacPherson, 34, will be sentenced in Yukon Supreme Court on Feb. 21.

According to an agreed statement of facts filed in court, MacPherson bought a truck from Sinclair sometime in the spring of 2014.

“A short time after this transaction occurred, Mr. MacPherson had some mechanical issues with the truck,” the statement says.

“Although arrangements were made between Mr. Sinclair and Mr. MacPherson to resolve those issues there was unresolved tension between them because Mr. MacPherson hadn’t paid for the parts.”

The tension came to a head on the night of July 14, 2014, when Sinclair, MacPherson and other acquaintances were together at a house in Copper Ridge.

“By all accounts everything seemed to be going well until Mr. MacPherson began making comments about the truck that Mr. Sinclair sold him,” according to court documents.

“Mr. Sinclair made a remark to the effect that he should just knock Mr. MacPherson out to which Mr. MacPerson replied, ‘just do it.’”

The two began fighting. One witness said she heard Sinclair say “enough” and “he is stabbing me” as MacPherson was swinging his arms with what was thought to be a knife.

Sinclair was stabbed five times, once in the arm and four times in the torso. He died at 5:30 a.m. on July 15.

The court documents describe MacPherson fleeing the scene after the fight.

Police issued a warrant for his arrest and sent press releases to Yukon, Alberta and British Columbia.

On July 17, he called his mother, telling her he “didn’t mean it. It was self-defence” and that he was considering taking an entire bottle of methadone.

That was the last anyone heard from MacPherson until July 25, more than a week after Sinclair was stabbed, when he turned himself into RCMP on Vancouver Island.

Sinclair was 27 years old when he was killed. He was an avid outdoorsman and father of two. His wife was pregnant with their second child when he died.

Following his death more than $100,000 was raised to support his family.

Unlike a murder conviction, a manslaughter plea does not come with a minimum sentence unless a firearm is used.

The maximum sentence for manslaughter is life in prison.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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