33-year-old Moncton man sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter

A 33-year-old Moncton man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing 45-year-old Karl Cadden Wearden.

Devon Stockley, who is formerly of Cape Breton, pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year in the death of the Moncton resident and father last winter.

Crown prosecutor Maurice Blanchard said in Moncton court Tuesday that the two men knew each other and had argued over drugs on March 18.

Codiac RCMP were called to the scene of a fight on Echo Drive shortly after 1 a.m. and found Wearden lying in the street, unconscious with multiple stab wounds. He died at the scene.

Devon Stockley/Facebook

When Judge Lucie Mathurin asked if he wished to speak, an emotional Stockley could barely be heard.

"I'm sorry," he said softly.

The court heard the two men set up a meeting so Stockley could buy drugs off Wearden. 

An argument ensued and at point one Wearden reached in his pocket. Believing Wearden was reaching for a weapon, Stockley pulled out a knife and stabbed him six times, mainly in the chest area.

Stockley then left the scene.

He was arrested 10 days after the stabbing and was initially charged with second-degree murder.

Police used call records that led them to Stockley, and the knife was discovered in his shed.

Mitigating factors

Among the reasons the Crown and defence agreed to lower the charge to manslaughter was that Stockley did not rob Wearden, who still had a large quantity of cash and drugs on him plus two cellphones.  

The sentence was a joint recommendation from the prosecution and defence.

Defence lawyer Annie Maltais argued there were mitigating factors in Stockley's favour. She said he pleaded guilty and saved the court from a trial, there is hope for rehabilitation since he's only 33, and he co-operated with police.

He is remorseful and accepts responsibility for his actions, Maltais said.

Mathurin agreed with the joint recommendation and accepted the mitigation factors, saying she believes Stockley is remorseful. 

The judge ordered 10 years less time served, meaning Stockley is facing just over nine years in prison.

He was ordered to submit a DNA sample and to forfeit any weapons — including knives — and he is prohibited from possessing firearms for 10 years.

'A huge piece of me missing'

Ashley Breau, a friend of Wearden's, read a victim impact statement in court Tuesday. 

She said the night he died was the worst night of her life. She and her children lost a best friend, a helping hand and a support system. It's hard to watch the children try to make sense of what happened, she said.

Submitted by Wade Perry

"Most importantly, [he was] someone we all loved very, very much," Breau said, describing Wearden as kind and honest.

"Ever since the moment I found out what happened to Karl, I have had a huge piece of me missing."

Wearden's obituary said he was born in Verdun, Que., and spent much of his life "roaming around Canada," living in cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. He is survived by his 10-year-old son.