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Man sentenced to 4 years for fatal beating of homeless man in Campbell River, B.C.

Dean Dool, 59, was found beaten outside a bank in downtown Campbell River on Oct. 15, 2020. (Betty-Jean Dziekan) Dean Dool, 59, was found beaten outside a bank in downtown Campbell River on Oct. 15, 2020. (Betty-Jean Dziekan)
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A 32-year-old man from Campbell River, B.C., has been sentenced to four years in prison for the beating death of a 59-year-old homeless man in October 2020.

Justin William Arnet was sentenced on March 7 for his role in an assault that left Dean Dool dying on the sidewalk outside a Campbell River bank.

Arnet has been in custody since January 2021, five days after he was arrested for robbing a woman who was sleeping outside the Campbell River library.

He was credited with three years and seven weeks for time he has already served, reducing his remaining sentence to 10 months and one week for the manslaughter charge.

B.C. provincial court judge Reginald Harris sentenced Arnet to an additional six months for the robbery, to be served after his incarceration for Dool's death.

An autopsy revealed Dool died in hosptial from head trauma a few days after the assault. He also sustained internal bruising, abrasions and a broken hyoid bone in his neck.

ARGUMENT CAUGHT ON CAMERA

The judge's decision says Dool was drinking a beer inside the foyer of a downtown bank on Oct. 15, 2020.

He finished his beer and stepped out into the autumn air around 10:30 p.m. Arnet was also out that night with two others when they encountered Dool and believed he made a racist comment about Indigenous people directed at them.

The ensuing argument was captured on security camera video.

Arnet pushed Dool and the pair exchanged words for approximately 35 seconds. Dool then pulled a knife and waved it at Arnet who pushed the blade away several times, according to the court.

Twenty-five seconds later, Arnet threw a punch at Dool, striking him in the face and knocking him off the sidewalk and onto the street. While Dool was on the ground, Arnet punched and kicked him in the head, briefly stepping away and returning three times to deliver more blows.

Arnet and one of his friends picked up Dool, who was motionless by this point, and moved him up onto the sidewalk and against the wall of a building. While Dool was slumped against the wall, Arnet continued to beat him before he finally left the area and went to a "nearby gathering place, where staff noted signs suggesting that he was intoxicated," the judge wrote.

Dool laid on the sidewalk for a time before getting to his feet and falling again, striking his head on the ground. Paramedics transported the man to the hospital where he later died.

'OVERWHELMING GUILT'

Arnet was arrested three months later after he and another man assaulted and stole a cellphone and backpack from a woman who was sleeping outside Campbell River's downtown library.

During a police interrogation, Arnet became emotional when was shown video of his earlier altercation with Dool.

"He expressed how sorry he was and stated he was sorry to Mr. Dool and his family," the judge wrote. "He also expressed he felt overwhelming guilt."

Family and friends of Dool provided victim impact statements to the court, describing grief, sadness and a void in the wake of their loved one's death.

Dool's sister said she was left broken-hearted by her brother's death and has difficulty sleeping. Dool's partner said she feels lingering guilt and struggles to pass by the area where her partner was assaulted.

The Crown prosecutor sought a prison sentence of seven to eight years for the manslaughter charge and 18 months for the robbery.

The defence lawyer argued a four-year sentence, minus time served, was appropriate for both charges, given Arnet's minimal criminal history, prospects for rehabilitation and experiences as an Indigenous man.

Following his release from custody, Arnet will serve two years of probation. He is prohibited from possessing firearms, crossbows, ammunition or explosives for 10 years after his release from custody.

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