Man who broke into four homes and shot one resident gets 14 years in prison

A B.C. man who committed four home invasions and shot one of the residents in the face has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

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A man who pleaded guilty to breaking into four homes in the Courtenay area and shooting one of the residents in the face has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Richard Daniel Yves Vigneault, 30, broke into his first home in the Vancouver Island community on the afternoon of March 12, 2018. He stole various items, including a bicycle worth about $1,000.

The second break-in occurred two days later in a home north of Courtenay occupied by a man named Robert Scott and his brother. Scott, who was asleep in bed, heard movement within the house, went to investigate and found Vigneault in the laundry room.

Although he was shocked, unsettled and frightened, Scott kept things low-key, asking Vigneault if he needed help. Vigneault said he was thirsty and Scott gave him something to drink.

When Vigneault asked to use the washroom, Scott pointed the way and later went to his bedroom and got $40 that he planned to give to Vigneault but was confronted by the accused raising a handgun and pointing it at him.

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Scott averted his face and closed his eyes and heard a click with the accused muttering words to the effect that the gun was jammed.

Vigneault pointed the firearm again at Scott and shot him in the face, the bullet entering his jaw and travelling back into his neck and causing injury to his vertebral artery and a small fracture in the vertebra.

Vigneault fled the scene. Scott survived but bullet fragments remain lodged in his vertebra, too dangerous to remove because of the risk of paralysis.

Several hours later Vigneault broke into the third home. The resident of the home, who was about to go to work, noticed a light on in his detached garage and found Vigneault inside, kneeling on the ground and in the midst of spray painting a pair of hockey pads.

After being asked to leave, Vigneault departed the scene. Later that evening he broke into the fourth home and was arrested after the resident called police.

Vigneault, who had a prior criminal record and was bound by a court order banning him from possessing firearms at the time, told the court he committed the crimes to get food and alcohol, and to escape the cold and that he had acquired the unlicensed firearm by trading a bicycle for it.

A longtime drug addict, he claimed that he was heavily intoxicated at the time of the shooting and didn’t remember it.

“He used that gun to commit an act of life-threatening and gratuitous violence,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robin Baird said in imposing sentence.

Vigneault got 14 years, reduced to nine years, three months after credit for pre-sentence custody. The sentence was given out orally May 11 with the written reasons for sentence posted on the court’s website Thursday.

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