polo baby bags Good Shepherd arsonist jailed for 18 months
An 18 year old local man who set fire to a former retirement home in Wetaskiwin, which was abandoned at the time, was sentenced to 18 months in jail last week.
Shawn Robert Phinney, who will live with his father in St. Albert following his release, must also complete an 18 month probation order, submit a sample of his DNA for analysis and abide by a lifetime firearms ban.
Phinney, who has been in custody since he turned himself into police Dec. 19, pleaded guilty to one count of arson, and another count of possession of stolen property, on an unrelated matter, during his Feb. 18 appearance at the Wetaskiwin Provincial court via close circuit television from the Fort Saskatchewan correctional centre.
He received a 15 day sentence for his guilty plea concerning the break and enter charge.
The former retirement home had not housed seniors in more than six years as its replacement the Good Shepherd Lutheran Home opened its doors on Northmount Drive to clients on Jan. 6, 2003.
The clean cut Phinney, dressed in blue remand centre attire, answered the pleas with a single yes.
Since he spent 62 days already in custody, coupled with the usual two days off for every day in custody, Judge W. Andreassen knocked four months off the teenager’s sentence.
In handing down his sentence, Judge Andreassen said thankfully for Phinney’s sake, no one was living in the building at the time he committed the arson.
As part of his sentencing, Phinney will have to submit a sample of his DNA for analysis and abide by a lifetime firearms ban.
He must also refrain from any contact with the two other men named in the incident.
Defence lawyer Glenn Allen pointed out that his client did turn himself in to Wetaskiwin RCMP,
and that he has spent the past 62 days in custody.
Allen added Phinney has been living on his own for the past two years, and had sporadic employment since leaving high school.”Mr. Phinney has indicated to me that during his time in custody, he’s had a lot of time to consider his actions.
“He’s remorseful and (knows) how senseless his actions were.
Allen added during his time spent in custody, he has started taking a small engine repair class, completed his WHIMS, hazardous waste and First Aid certifications.
The former Good Shepherd Lutheran Home, 51 Avenue and 47 Street, was completely gutted by fire Nov. 12 in Wetaskiwin.
Following the guilty pleas, details emerged in court that on the night of the fire, Phinney and two other men had broken into the abandoned facility, a known place for partying.
During the course of the night, Phinney became upset when he was told that his girlfriend had been at the same location a few days earlier partying with some other people.
Phinney grew angry and told the other two men that he would burn the place down.
He subsequently lit a piece of paper, and in turn, set a couch in the abandoned building on fire.
According to details revealed in court, Phinney later returned to watch the fire as firefighters from Wetaskiwin, Wetaskiwin County and the Town of Millet, fought the blaze for several hours.
A piece of heavy duty equipment was later brought in to knock down the roof, allowing firefighters a better chance to extinguish the blaze.
Break and enter matter
As for the break and enter plea, that matter stemmed from a Nov. 30 incident when a Wetaskiwin woman came home from work and discovered her residence had been broken into.