One sentenced in assault at Drumheller Institution

One of the four inmates co-accused in the May 2022 assault of another inmate at the Drumheller Institution pled guilty in provincial court on Friday, October 21.

Desmond Spence, who was an inmate at the Drumheller Institution at the time of the assault, appeared in court via closed-circuit television (CCTV) from the Edmonton Institution and pleaded guilty in a joint submission.

The court heard Drumheller RCMP were notified on May 12, 2022 of a stabbing incident which took place the previous day between a group of inmates.

CCTV footage captured four inmates launching a violent surprise attack on another inmate as he walked across a breezeway. The footage captured these inmates making stabbing motions with what appeared to be jail-made weapons.

At one point during the altercation, the victim was able to break free but was followed by the group of inmates, who continued the attack until officers stepped in and separated them.

The victim suffered multiple cuts and at least one stab wound.

Although Crown prosecution confirmed the victim was escorted to healthcare to receive treatment, it was unclear whether this was at a local hospital or the institution infirmary.

Despite a lengthy youth record, and an adult record beginning in 2018, Crown prosecution noted Mr. Spence had no record of assault or violent offences. This, along with an early guilty plea and indication of remorse were listed as mitigating factors in his sentencing.

Aggravating factors were that the assault took place in an institution while Mr. Spence and his co-accused were all serving inmates, and the serious, violent nature of the attack.

Defense counsel noted Mr. Spence has completed his Generalized Education Development (GED) along with First Aid, H2S, and Confined Spaces training while incarcerated and hopes he can enter the trades once released.

When given the opportunity, Mr. Spence apologized for his actions and expressed he would like to do his time and move forward.

Mr. Spence was sentenced to six months, served consecutively to any sentence he is currently serving, and ordered to provide a DNA sample.

He was also given a 10-year minimum firearms prohibition upon release.

The other three co-accused in this matter will have their cases return to provincial court in Drumheller on Friday, November 18.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail