A man who fatally stabbed a stranger to death on a Kelowna city bus two years ago has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Tyler Newton plunged a knife into 55-year-old Caesar Rosales’s neck in front of horrified transit passengers in November 2014. He then ditched the weapon in some bushes and fled the scene.
The 23-year-old was charged with second-degree murder but pleaded down to manslaughter, and was handed his sentence on Friday.
After the decision was delivered, Rosales’s relatives told reporters they’re disappointed Newton won’t be spending more time behind bars.
Darwin Rosales, the victim’s brother, also said he doesn’t believe the apology Newton delivered in court.
“When the convicted killer asked for forgiveness, he did not maintain eye contact with the persons he was asking forgiveness to,” he said. “He stressed that he just wanted his life back. My brother cannot be put back to life.”
But Newton’s defence lawyer insisted the young man has wanted to take responsibility for his crime from the outset.
“He’s been remorseful in court, and he’s been struggling,” Jordan Watt said. “The remorse and the empathy is real.”
Newton is a career criminal with some 50 prior convictions, but the judge noted that none of his past crimes were violent. A psychologist’s report also found the young man was in a state of drug-induced psychosis at the time of the deadly stabbing.
With credit for time already served, he is set to spend another 4.5 years in prison.
The judge said Newton’s main responsibility going forward will be to stay off drugs.