(Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Sentencing hearing for Pelly Crossing man in manslaughter case scheduled for August

Tristan Joe pleaded guilty to manslaughter in relation to the 2016 death of Raine Silas, 18.

A Pelly Crossing man who pleaded guilty to killing 18-year-old Raine Silas in 2016 after hitting him in the head with a 2×4 during a night of drinking will have his sentencing hearing held in the community in August.

Tristan Joe, originally charged with second-degree murder in Silas’s death, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter during a preliminary hearing in March. However, due to a legal technicality, he re-entered his guilty plea in Whitehorse territorial court the afternoon of June 22.

Members of Silas’s family were present in the courtroom gallery for the new plea.

Crown attorney Lauren Whyte read an agreed statement of facts to the court afterwards.

According to the statement, Joe and Silas “grew up in the same community, socialized, and were well known to one another.” The night of Nov. 3, 2016, the two men, along with “a number of individuals,” were drinking together at a home in Pelly Crossing when they began to argue.

Joe was “heavily intoxicated,” the statement says, and the homeowner told him and Silas to go outside if they were going to fight. The two left via the back door and, once outside, “engaged in a brief physical confrontation.”

During the fight, Joe “picked up a piece of 2×4 lumber and hit Silas around his left temple” with it, the statement continues. Silas’s aunt intervened and stopped the fight; when Silas was brought inside the home, he was “bleeding heavily from his face.” The aunt brought Silas to the Pelly Crossing Health Centre, and Joe left the home shortly afterwards.

Silas received two to three stitches at the health centre on his left cheek, the statement says. A nurse “observed a lump forming below (Silas’s) temple” and that he was intoxicated, but also that he was conscious and alert.

Silas’s aunt drove him to his grandparents’ home afterwards and dropped him off. Family members checked on Silas throughout the night as he slept, the statement says, with the last check done at 4 a.m. Nov. 4, 2016, when Silas “was observed to be sleeping.”

Silas was unresponsive when his family members checked on him again at 11:30 a.m. His family called for medical assistance and five medical personnel came to the home in an attempt to receive him.

Silas was pronounced dead at 12:17 p.m. An autopsy later concluded his death was caused by his head injury.

Joe went to the Pelly Crossing RCMP detachment the next day on the request of police and provided a statement. He was arrested Nov. 14, 2016, and brought to the Whitehorse RCMP detachment, where he gave another statement acknowledging “being responsible for (Silas’s) injuries, although he did not admit to the use of a weapon at that time, and recorded a tearful apology to (Silas’s) family.”

The statement says that Joe has no memory of using the piece of lumber during his fight with Silas, “but he does not contest this fact.”

Joe’s sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place in Pelly Crossing over three days in late August.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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