Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced Wednesday (Sept. 23) in Penticton Supreme Court for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore.
She was handed one year in prison, followed by one year of house arrest, and two years probation with conditions.
Justice Weatherill said in his sentencing that ultimately, Bourque’s actions of injecting Blackmore with a lethal dose of morphine, took him from his family.
“What you did was reckless, senseless, and naive,” he said Wednesday. “Devon’s death and the whole ordeal was so unnecessary.”
Bourque’s probation conditions include keeping the peace, appearing in court when required, and notifying the court of changes. She is prohibited from consuming drugs or possess drug paraphernalia not prescribed to her, and must not enter any other business where the primary sale is liquor. She was also issued a lifetime firearms prohibition, and was ordered to pay $5,400 to benefit Blackmore’s family, to be paid in the next three years.
In February 2020, Bourque pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her 17-year-old boyfriend, Devon Blackmore. The teen died on April 2, 2017, at a Penticton residence after he was administered morphine by Bourque.
Manslaughter is defined as a homicide committed without the intention to cause death. From a suspended sentence, to life in prison, a manslaughter charge can bring with it a variety of sentencing, explained Weatherill. Most cases fall between four to 15 years.
Aggravating factors included the fact Blackmore was only 17 at the time of his death, and was in the care of 20-year-old Bourque, who he was dating at the time. Devon had no prior experience with drugs and was ‘vulnerable.’
Mitigating factors included the fact Bouque entered a guilty plea after the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry, accepted responsibility, and did not put Blackmore’s family through a trial. She had no prior criminal record, and has taken steps to address substance use and mental health issues. The judge noted she contributed to the community, providing free haircuts to homeless shelter, and she did not attempt to conceal Devon’s death or hide evidence.
Weatherill considered Bourque’s apology, read in a Penticton Supreme Court appearance on Friday, Sept. 18, as ‘genuine,’ and noted her ‘sincere remorse.’
He referred to the witness impact statements, also read Friday, as ‘gut-wrenching’, and ‘horrendously tragic’ for family and friends of Blackmore.
Weatherill also referred to 15 letters of support for Bouque, referring to her as a kind, compassionate and caring person.
During Friday’s (Sept. 18) hearing, Crown prosecutor Andrew Vandersluys proposed a sentence of three years, plus conditions.
The defence announced they were seeking a two- to three-year suspended sentence.
Blackmore’s cause of death was found to be a morphine overdose, with potentially fatal pneumonia as a contributing factor. At the time, Blackmore did not consider the illness serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, and simply thought it was a chest cold.
The Crown said Bourque injected 17-year-old Blackmore, upon request, to help ease him of his discomfort and apparent pain he was experiencing due to pneumonia. He was not a consumer of hard drugs, was allergic to morphine, and had reacted poorly to it in the past. According to Bourque, he did not inform her of this.
When Bourque was arrested for manslaughter in Feb. 2018, she admitted to injecting Blackmore with morphine, but stated she, “loved Devon and did not wish to harm him.”
In his sentencing, Weatherill offered the family his, “heartfelt condolences for your loss. I realized the hole left in your lives cannot be filled.”
He acknowledged the sentencing “will not bring Devon back, and will not fill the void left in your hearts, and your lives.”
Weatherill said Bouque has a “bright future ahead of her.”
“I hope you will use the time you spend incarcerated … positively and productively. I wish you well.”