- Our Town
Four years for home invasion
One of the four people involved in a home invasion in Cranbrook last December has been sentenced to four years' jail.
Jay Leonard Hills pleaded guilty in Cranbrook court on Wednesday, May 28, to robbery with a firearm and disguising the face with intent to commit an offense in connection with a home invasion on December 26, 2013.
The court heard that while his three co-accused were also allegedly involved in another home invasion on December 19, Hills only took part in the December 26 incident.
In April, Megan Wynter Sands and Terrence Albert Allan were sentenced to five years and eight years respectively for their role in the two home invasions.
A co-accused, Andrew Monnette, has not entered a plea and reminds in custody in Kamloops. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 30 in Cranbrook.
Crown prosecutor Lianna Swanson and defense counsel William Thorne agreed that Hills should receive no more than the minimum sentence on the robbery charge — four years in jail.
Swanson told Judge Ron Webb that Hills was recruited by one of the people involved in the first home invasion to take part in the second.
"Everybody is of like mind that Mr. Hills was a follower and that's why the minimum sentence is appropriate," Swanson said.
Judge Webb agreed, sentencing Hills to four years' jail less six months credit for time served. A one-year sentence on the second charge of disguising his face will be served at the same time as the four-year sentence, meaning Hills has a further 42 months to serve in custody.
Hills is prohibited from possessing a firearm for 10 years and was ordered to provide a DNA sample. He has four years to pay a $400 victim fine surcharge.
Hills made a statement after the sentence was handed down.
"I am deeply sorry for what I did and I feel sorry for the victims. I do regret it deeply," he said.
Judge Webb said that if Hills is sincere, he should make every effort to keep out of trouble in the future.
"In my view this may be an example of where a young person with a sympathetic background and difficulties of their own ends up with a sentence greater than they would have if there were not a minimum sentence," he said, pointing out that these charges are a "significant leap" in Hills' criminal history. "Nonetheless, the use of a firearm makes it significant."