KENTVILLE, NS - A joint sentencing recommendation could lead to a seven-year federal prison sentence for a Greenwood man who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a targeted assault and robbery.
Franklin Dale McKay, 29, was present in Kentville provincial court in custody for his sentencing hearing on April 5. He asked to address the court prior to his sentence being handed down.
“Your honour, this event has been quite an eye-opener for me,” said McKay, who has a lengthy criminal record. “I made a few mistakes in my past that has led me on my path that I have now.”
He said that when he “went on the run”, he learned that he has a baby girl on the way, “so it’s been quite gripping.”
McKay said he sees this as his opportunity to take steps inside the federal prison system to better himself, not make similar mistakes again and not be back before the court. He said he’s sorry for the actions he took against the victim of what the Kentville Police Service described as a targeted assault and robbery in Kentville on Jan. 4.
Two co-accused in the targeted assault and robbery, Stephen Ryan McKay, 22, also of Greenwood, and Bryce Douglas Brooks, 23, of Glooscap First Nation, have yet to enter pleas.
Targeted assault and robbery
McKay pleaded guilty on March 27 to robbery and aggravated assault charges stemming from the targeted assault and robbery. The sentencing recommendation is for six and a half years on each count, to be served concurrently.
The court heard that the victim had earlier been told that a number of individuals planned to rob him. Concerned, the victim called a friend, an escort whose services he’d been using for a number of months. Crown Jim Fyfe described McKay as being the escort’s “manager”, although defence lawyer Zeb Brown later said his client didn’t agree with that characterization and that the escort and McKay were acquaintances.
The victim called the escort to tell her about what he had heard. She told him she would talk to McKay, one of the individuals who supposedly was going to be robbing the victim.
The escort spoke to McKay, who indicated he was going to talk to the victim in person. The victim had no issue with this and invited McKay to his Academy Street apartment. McKay and the victim sat on the couch and chatted.
During the conversation, McKay was allegedly texting the escort. He told the victim his girlfriend was downstairs and asked to buzz her in. The victim said this was fine. However, two men wearing outfits covering their faces came into the apartment. McKay grabbed the victim and put a knife to his throat, cutting the victim in the process.
The victim began fighting back and the knife was dropped. McKay regained control of the knife and stabbed the victim in the upper chest. One of the disguised men went behind the victim and put a knife to his back, stating that if the victim didn’t stop fighting, he was going to cut him.
The victim stopped struggling. McKay duct taped the victim’s mouth and bound his hands. The three men then ransacked the apartment, stealing several items. These included approximately 300 grams of marijuana, grinders, bongs, sunglasses, a TV, laptop, digital safe, the keys to the apartment and a credit card. The men demanded the combination to the safe and the victim’s PIN number. A cattle prod that the victim had in his home was used twice on the victim.
The victim was threatened that if he called police, the assailants would cut off his eyelids and legs and leave him in the woods for dead. The assailants then left the apartment. The victim, who admitted to police to selling marijuana out of his apartment, has cerebral palsy and uses a cane to walk.
Police later determined that the stolen credit card had been used three times in three different locations. There’s photographic evidence from at least one location showing McKay using the card.
The police retrieved security video footage showing a car pulling up to the apartment at 3:45 a.m. on Jan. 4. McKay was identified as the individual exiting the vehicle and entering the building.
Footage from 5 a.m. showed two other men arriving at the building. One didn’t have a bandana over his face when he entered and looked up at a security camera. Footage from 5:31 a.m. showed three men exiting the building, including McKay, who didn’t have his face covered. They were carrying items taken from the victim’s apartment.
McKay also pleaded guilty to several unrelated charges. These include dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to stop his vehicle in order to evade police, failing to comply with a demand made to him by a police officer to provide samples of his breath for analysis and failing to comply with his undertaking.
He committed these offences in Waterville on Oct. 19, 2017. The sentencing recommendation is for five months custody on each count, to be served concurrently.
The court heard that McKay was travelling west on Highway 101 and was clocked by police as going as fast as 210 km/h. Police couldn’t close the distance but McKay eventually slowed down and pulled over. He then took off at a high rate of speed, evading police. McKay was later spotted in Greenwood, where he was arrested and charged. A strong smell of alcohol was noted and McKay appeared to have red, glassy eyes.
He twice tried to kick the back window out of the police cruiser and later refused the breathalyser at the police station.
Smoked weed in jail, went A.W.O.L.
McKay pleaded guilty to possessing not in excess of 30 grams of cannabis marijuana in Dartmouth on Dec. 1. Lawyer Don Urquhart, who appeared on behalf of the federal Crown, asked for one month consecutive to any other sentence.
The court heard that McKay was serving intermittent custody and was in a cell with another prisoner when a guard noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the cell. The guard noticed smoke. McKay was searched and 6.3 grams of marijuana and a pink lighter were found in his underwear. Urquhart characterized the offence as “brazen.”
McKay also pleaded guilty to being at large within Canada before the expiration of a term of imprisonment, stemming from not showing up to serve an intermittent sentence in Dartmouth between Jan. 5 and 12. The sentencing recommendation is for one month in custody.
McKay was arrested in Alberta on a Canada-wide warrant on Feb. 16. He’s been given one month of credit for time already served on remand. Considering the credit, the joint sentencing recommendations would amount to an overall seven-year custodial sentence.
Judge Daniel MacRury adjourned the hearing to April 19 at 12:15 p.m. He asked for written submissions from the Crown and defence on why the joint sentencing recommendations are within range.
“I’m going to need a little more convincing from counsel,” MacRury said.
Several other charges against McKay have been adjourned to April 19 for disposition.
Human trafficking charges
McKay is also charged with alleged human trafficking related offences. These include recruiting, transporting and exercising control and direction over the movements of an individual for the purpose of exploiting her; receiving a financial benefit from human trafficking, withholding a document – the alleged victim’s driver’s licence – for the purpose of committing an offence and receiving a material benefit from sexual services.
It’s alleged that McKay committed these offences in Greenwood between Jan. 1, 2015, and Jan. 4, 2018. McKay has yet to enter pleas to these counts, which have not been proven in court. They have been adjourned to April 19 for election and plea.