Saint John man gets 8 1/2 years for stabbing his drinking buddy and leaving him to die

·3 min read
After a day of smoking marijuana and drinking last summer, Tyler Gamblin stabbed Nathan Gallant six times and left him in the ditch on the side of the road.  (RCMP - image credit)
After a day of smoking marijuana and drinking last summer, Tyler Gamblin stabbed Nathan Gallant six times and left him in the ditch on the side of the road. (RCMP - image credit)

A 20-year-old Saint John man who stabbed his friend six times and left him on the side of the road to bleed to death was sentenced Friday to 8 1/2 years in prison.

Tyler Gamblin was originally charged with second-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Nathan Gallant but pleaded guilty in January to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Before sentencing Gamblin on Friday, Justice Darrell Stephenson said the attack on Gallant was without "significant provocation." He described it as an "abrupt, brutal, largely unprovoked attack."

He also pointed out that Gamblin's immediate reaction was to try to conceal the body and then flee the scene.

Stephenson said he also accepts the defence position "that things have not been easy for Mr. Gamblin." He noted that Gamblin didn't have a stable childhood, has been diagnosed with a number of learning problems and can't read or write.

The judge gave Gamblin credit for pleading guilty and for apologizing to Gallant's family last week during a sentencing hearing.

Members of Nathan Gallant's family leave the Saint John courthouse last week.  From left are his aunt, sister, father and grandmother.
Members of Nathan Gallant's family leave the Saint John courthouse last week. From left are his aunt, sister, father and grandmother. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

Although the family did not want to be interviewed, they emailed a statement to CBC on Friday afternoon.

They insist that Gallant and Gamblin were not friends.

"Friends do not kill each other. Friends help one another.

"No amount of time will bring Nathan back but what hurts more than only getting 8.5 years is Nathan never made it to his 30th birthday, and Tyler will be walking the streets again before the age of 30. Is that justice?"

Nathan Gallant's family said all he wanted in life was to find his soul mate and have a family.
Nathan Gallant's family said all he wanted in life was to find his soul mate and have a family.(Submitted by Kyla Gallant)

They also said Gallant's family and friends meant the world to him.

"All Nathan wanted in life was to find his soul mate and have a family. He wanted to be a father more than anything."

Victim left in the ditch

The court heard that Gamblin stabbed Gallant six times in the ribs, dragged him by his arms into the woods, and asked his ex-girlfriend to help hide the body — all after a day of drinking and "smoking weed" together.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Gamblin was at home with his ex-girlfriend Bryanna McGaghey on July 8, when he contacted Gallant to ask if they could hang out.

At around 5:30 p.m., the trio, along with Bailey Basque, who was driving, headed to Fairfield, near St. Martins. Along the way, Gamblin and Gallant were "bickering and arguing" about McGaghey, according to the statement of facts.

While at their destination, they started getting physical and play wrestling.

Nathan Gallant, 29, was stabbed six times in the ribs.
Nathan Gallant, 29, was stabbed six times in the ribs. (Submitted by Kyla Gallant)

On the way back, Gallant, who was in the front seat, was "intensely staring" and smiling at McGaghey, who was seated in the rear, behind the driver.

Gamblin told police on July 23 that Gallant was harassing McGaghey. When Gallant continued, Gamblin said he "snapped" and stabbed him.

Neither McGaghey nor Basque saw it happen, but Basque pulled over because of the arguing and told everyone to get out of the vehicle.

Basque drove off to get help. When he returned, he found Gallant's body in the ditch.

Gamblin hid in the woods that night and eluded police for 15 days before being arrested in Woodstock with the help of a Crime Stoppers tip.