A Cranbrook man convicted of second-degree murder last December will not be eligible for parole for another five years, ruled a judge in Cranbrook Supreme Court on Monday morning.
Cheyenne Learn, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Tammy Ellis, was in court for a hearing on parole eligibility.
Justice Dev Dley, who presided over Learn’s trial, ruled that Learn, who received an automatic life sentence upon his conviction, won’t be eligible for parole for 12 years since he was taken into custody.
Learn was also given a lifetime ban on firearms and must provide a DNA sample to authorities.
Since his arrest in December 2007, Learn has been incarcerated for seven years, meaning he must serve another five years before his parole eligibility comes up.
In his sentencing ruling, Dley noted that Learn, who was an alcoholic and a drug addict when Ellis was killed, has become sober in prison and taken advantage of educational opportunities, with many letters of support for his rehabilitation.
In the same breath, Dley also noted that Learn’s criminal history includes 23 convictions for a range of drug, firearms and assault charges between 1978 and 1997.
Dley disagreed with the Crown and concluded that—in terms of parole eligibility—Learn’s situation was closer to manslaughter than first-degree murder.
He added that parole eligibility is usually within blocks of 12-15 years, 16-20 years and 25-plus years.
Dley said he made his ruling based on examining the facts of the case, determining Learn’s moral culpability, past case law and balancing rehabilitation with denunciation and deterrence.
Ellis was killed in December 2007 after being shot by Learn at a residence in Cranbrook. Learn, who was intoxicated during the event, was at the residence to disable a vehicle used by his ex-girlfriend to traffic drugs by shooting the engine block with a sawed-off shotgun.
However, following a confrontation with Ellis outside the house, Learn entered the residence through the back door and shot her in front of two witnesses. He was arrested the following day at a relative’s house.
Learn was convicted of second-degree murder in 2009 but won a new trial upon appeal in 2013.