Saint John man who killed friend, then left him at roadside apologizes to family

·3 min read
Nathan Gallant's family read victim impact statements in court on Friday at the sentencing hearing of his killer, Tyler Gamblin.  (Submitted by Kyla Gallant - image credit)
Nathan Gallant's family read victim impact statements in court on Friday at the sentencing hearing of his killer, Tyler Gamblin. (Submitted by Kyla Gallant - image credit)

Tyler Gambln, the 20-year-old Saint John man who stabbed a friend to death last summer, apologized Friday to the victim's family.

When asked at his sentencing hearing if he had anything to say, Gamblin turned to Nathan Gallant's family in the courtroom.

"I'm sorry for what I did," he said. "I hope you guys forgive me."

Gamblin was originally charged with second-degree murder in the July 8 death of Gallant, 29, but pleaded guilty in January to the lesser offence of manslaughter.

He will be sentenced April 16.

On Friday, Crown prosecutor Chris Titus asked the court to consider a sentence in the range of eight to 10 years.

Defence lawyer Wesley McIntosh asked for considerably less, although he did not mention the range in open court.

Justice Darrell Stephenson said he wanted to "take a few days to formulate my thoughts," although he did tell the defence that he "couldn't go there," referring to the sentence proposed by McIntosh.

After a day of drinking and smoking marijuana last summer, Gamblin stabbed his friend six times and left him in the ditch on the side of the road near St. Martins.
After a day of drinking and smoking marijuana last summer, Gamblin stabbed his friend six times and left him in the ditch on the side of the road near St. Martins. (RCMP)

Several members of Gallant's family read their victim impact statements in court.

His sister, Kyla Gallant, said she was so shaken by her brother's death that she missed work for six months and had to go to counselling.

"Even after seeking help, I'm still finding it hard to piece my life back together and make it through a work day without breaking down."

She finished by saying, "I miss you every day, Nathan."

Gallant's mother, Diana Hachey, told the court that "grief has become my daily routine."

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

"Living outside my body is the only way I can get through my days," she said.

Gallant's aunt, Lisa Gallant, said the family is "physically and emotionally broken."

She said her nephew spent several years in the army, but left because he missed his family. She said he was "caring, considerate and would literally give you the shirt off his back."

Victim left in the ditch

The court heard that Gamblin stabbed Nathan Gallant six times in the ribs after a day of drinking and "smoking weed."

According to an agreed statement of facts, Gamblin was at home with his ex-girlfriend Bryanna McGaghey on July 8, when he contacted Gallant in the afternoon 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.

Kyla Gallant said her brother was a proud member of the gunner community.
Kyla Gallant said her brother was a proud member of the gunner community.(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. At one point, he "lunged" at her.

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

Basque pulled over to the shoulder, and Gamblin pulled Gallant out of the vehicle and left him on the side of the road.

Gamblin soon took off, hiding in the woods that night and eluding police for 15 days.