Cheers broke out in a Vancouver courtroom Friday from the family of a teen stabbed in Whistler four years ago, after three youths convicted in the crime were sentenced to prison time, including a life sentence.
The trio, whose names can’t be released because of a publication ban, were 17 years old when they took part in the swarming death of 19-year-old Luka Gordic outside a convenience store in Whistler village during the may long weekend in 2015.
One of the three who was convicted with second-degree murder was sentenced to life in prison. The other two, who were found guilty of manslaughter, will get three years total, with 18 months in custody and 18 more under supervision.
All three youths were handed their guilty verdicts in October 2017.
Gordic was killed after approximately eight to 15 people swarmed him outside a convenience store in Whistler village during the May long weekend in 2015. The Burnaby teen was stabbed three times, including in the heart, which Crown prosecutors said was likely the fatal wound.
The Crown had been calling on the trio to be sentenced as adults, saying the attack was “planned and premeditated.” In the end, only one of the youths got that treatment, while the other two were sentenced as youths.
Outside the courthouse following the verdict, family members said the sentences were welcome, but would never fully provide closure.
“We’re scarred for life,” Gordic’s mother Clara said. “I have to struggle, we struggle every day. I get up in the morning and try to keep myself busy because I think about Luka every day. I think about what they did to him.”
The Crown prosecutor in the case said it was one of the most difficult of his career.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of horrible cases, and this is right up there with about as bad as it gets,” Henry Reiner said.
“He was a completely lovely, innocent young man,” he continued, his voice shaking. “It affects me right now just thinking about it.”
A fourth culprit, Arvin Golic, was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison. He was tried as an adult because he was 18 years old at the time of the attack.
Family and friends of Gordic have been waiting for this sentencing since the hearings for the three youths began last July following their convictions in October 2017.
At the sentencing hearings, they shared their grief and anger over the pain they still feel for Gordic’s absence.
“It’s very tough for all my family,” said his grandmother, Maria Buono, at the time. “Every day. We suffer every day since they took that beautiful boy from us.”
—With files from Neetu Garcha, Amy Judd and Julia Foy
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