An Alberta man originally charged with trying to murder six RCMP officers will likely find out next week how much longer he’ll remain behind bars.
Destry Sayine, 30, pleaded guilty earlier this year to endangering the lives of six Mounties, assaulting his father, and two weapons offences.
He has been in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre since he was arrested the day of the incident in March 2018.
At a sentencing hearing Wednesday in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench, the Crown asked for a 10-year sentence, while the defence asked for five-and-a-half years to be followed by three years of probation.
Credit for time served would reduce the sentence by five years and four months. So if Justice John Henderson agrees with the defence, Sayine would be eligible for release this summer.
Sayine talked about serving time in remand during the pandemic.
“I’ve been locked up for 23 hours a day for months on end,” Sayine said. “This has been going on for over a year now. I’ve served the hardest time anyone could serve.”
Shots fired at officers
Sayine was living above a garage on a rural Sturgeon County property, while the rest of his family, including his parents, lived in the house, according to an agreed statement of facts.
At around 4 a.m. on March 18, 2018, Sayine was drinking and got into a fight with his father in the garage.
Sayine pushed his father against a wall, hit him several times and kicked him in the ribs.
His mother called RCMP and told them about the assault, and said her son was suicidal. Mounties were assured there were no firearms on the property.
The RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT) arrived around 9 a.m. Officers carried a ballistic shield and wore tactical gear, including helmets and armoured plates on their chests and backs. They used a battering ram to open a locked door to the garage.
Sayine was standing at the top of the stairs on the second floor of the garage.
“Without warning, the accused shot toward the doorway with a prohibited firearm,” the court document said.
Six to eight shots were fired in quick succession, aimed at the officers.
Investigators later found a bullet hole at head height in the wall behind where two Mounties had been. The ballistic shield was also struck with a bullet. Police did not return fire but instead retreated and waited until an armoured vehicle arrived.
RCMP negotiators ended the standoff early in the afternoon, and Sayine surrendered peacefully.
He had been armed with a Ruger .22 semi-automatic rifle, a prohibited weapon. Due to a previous conviction, he was not allowed to own firearms.
Defence lawyer Andrew Phypers told court that on the day of the shooting his client was in a paranoid state. Sayine was involved in a criminal lifestyle, he said, and had been shot in the leg and stomach in downtown Edmonton.
“He felt that he needed to protect himself,” Phypers said. “That’s why there was a firearm present that day.”
According to a Gladue report, Sayine had a difficult upbringing that involved physical and sexual abuse, family addiction issues and intergenerational trauma.
“He’s actively trying to do something different,” Phypers said. “He’s been struggling to break the cycle. This court has the ability to craft a sentence that works. He is a person who needs assistance. Jail isn’t working.”
Justice Henderson is expected to hand down his sentencing decision on May 28.
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