PENTICTON, B.C. — A Penticton woman who injected her teenage boyfriend with a lethal dose of morphine has been handed a one-year jail sentence for manslaughter and must pay the victim’s family for funeral costs, a judge ordered Wednesday.
Kiera Bourque, 24, previously pleaded guilty for the death of Devon Blackmore, who was 17 when he died on April 2, 2017.
"While I am satisfied you did not have any intention of causing Devon’s death … what you did was reckless, senseless and naive," B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gary Weatherill told Bourque during his sentencing.
"You should have known better, especially since the drug you were administering was not legal," the judge said. "Devon’s death and the whole ordeal was so unnecessary."
Weatherill described the family’s victim impact statements as "gut-wrenching."
"It is difficult to fully imagine or put into words the sorrow that must be felt by Devon’s family," said Weatherill.
"They feel his absence every day. Their suffering is unlikely to abate."
However, the judge praised Bourque, a licensed cosmetologist, for turning around her life and co-operating with the investigation.
"You are an extremely remorseful young woman with no criminal history who demonstrated a serious lack of judgment and have taken full responsibility for what happened," Weatherill said.
Bourque must also serve two years' probation and reimburse Blackmore's family $5,400 for his funeral.
There is no mandatory minimum sentence for manslaughter. During the sentencing hearing on Sept. 18, Crown counsel Andrew Vandersluys called for a three-year prison term, while her defence lawyer Paul Varga suggested a suspended sentence with three years' probation.
The court heard at the start of the hearing that Blackmore and Bourque had been dating for approximately three months when he became ill during his high school spring break in 2017.
Blackmore suspected he had bronchitis and didn’t seek medical attention and instead went to stay with Bourque at her apartment, the court heard.
Bourque, who was addicted to morphine after a rugby accident in 2014, told police Blackmore asked her for a dose to ease his pain, despite having had an adverse reaction to morphine earlier in life, the court heard.
Bourque told police she injected Blackmore with his first dose on the evening of April 1 and another the next morning, both times at his request.
Around noon on the day of his death, she helped Blackmore to the washroom, where he collapsed and began having seizures. She called 911 immediately and performed first aid, but Blackmore was pronounced dead at the scene.
A pathologist later determined Blackmore died of a morphine overdose, but cited as a contributing factor necrotizing pneumonia in both lungs.
This report for The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.