Randall Hopley saga enters final chapter

The abductor of Kienan Hebert will be sentenced Friday, Nov. 29 in Cranbrook Supreme Court

A two-and-a-half-year saga comes to a close Friday, Nov. 29 with the sentencing of Randall Hopley for the Sept. 2011 abduction of three-year-old Kienan Hebert.

In Cranbrook Supreme Court, Justice Heather Holmes will hand down a decision on whether Randall Hopley is a dangerous or long-term offender, as well as giving the 48-year-old Sparwood man a jail sentence.

Prosecution lawyer Lynal Doerksen is seeking a sentence of nine to eleven years for Hopley, followed by 10 years of supervision that would be similar to parole with strict conditions.

Doerksen also thinks Hopley should be deemed a dangerous offender. Rarely used, the dangerous offender designation sets apart offenders of violent or sexual crimes who are deemed likely to reoffend and whose release is considered a threat to society.

Defense counsel William Thorne disagrees with that designation and suggests a sentence of five years would be more appropriate.

Hopley has been in custody since he was arrested in September 2011. Thorne thinks he should receive credit for this time in custody at one and a half times those days reduced from his sentence. Doerksen said it should be credited at day-for-day off his sentence.

During a dangerous offender hearing in Cranbrook last month, Doerksen argued that Hopley has a pattern of behaviour involving young boys, which began when Hopley was 15 and continued until 2011, when he abducted three-year-old Kienan Hebert from his bed in Sparwood, bringing him back four days later.

But Thorne argued that Hopley’s sexual offences ended when he was in his early 20s. The abduction of Kienan and the attempted abduction of a 10-year-old boy in Sparwood in 2007 were not sexually motivated, Thorne said.

Both lawyers agree that Hopley’s sentence should be reduced because he returned little Kienan unharmed after a tearful plea from the boy’s parents.

During Hopley’s sentencing hearing in July 2012, the court heard that Hopley chose the Hebert home for his abduction plan because he noticed toys in the yard and found the front door unlocked. Hopley also said he returned the boy because he asked to go home.

Kienan Hebert’s father Paul told Hopley shortly after the abductor’s arrest that he was like the Boogieman to Kienan and his other children.

On September 7, 2011, Kienan Hebert’s family reported him missing after they woke up and realized their three-year-old son was missing from the home.

An amber alert was issued and emergency responders from all over the East Kootenay rushed to Sparwood to take part in an extensive search for the little boy, who was wearing nothing but Scooby Doo boxer shorts when he disappeared.

Four days later, an anonymous 911 caller reported that Kienan had been returned to his home. In the middle of the night, the little boy was found inside the house.

On September 13, 2011, a police sniffer dog tracked Randall Hopley to a gravel pit in Crowsnest Lake, Alberta, near the abandoned cabin where he had kept Kienan for four days.

See Monday’s Townsman for the full report on Hopley’s sentencing, or visit www.dailytownsman.com after Friday afternoon.

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