Penticton, B.C. woman pleads guilty in manslaughter death of teenage boyfriend

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An Okanagan woman pleaded guilty to the 2017 manslaughter death of her boyfriend in Penticton court on Monday. Shelby Thom reports. – Feb 24, 2020

An Okanagan woman entered a surprise guilty plea on Monday morning in BC Supreme Court in Penticton, in the 2017 manslaughter death of her boyfriend, Devon Blackmore.

Kiera Bourque, 22, wore a black blazer with her hair tied up in a ponytail as she stood beside her defence counsel to formally enter the guilty plea.

Justice Gary Weatherill questioned Bourque to ensure she fully understood what she was doing.

READ MORE: Preliminary hearing underway for Penticton woman accused in manslaughter death

“Are you making the plea voluntarily?” Weatherill asked. “Yes,” Bourque responded.

“And by making the plea of guilty, you are admitting to the essential elements of the offence of manslaughter,” Weatherill asked.

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“Yes,” she responded.

“Do you understand the nature and consequences of manslaughter?” he asked.

“I believe so,” Bourque responded.

Her defence counsel jumped in, telling the judge his client was just anxious and nervous, but the information had been discussed in advance of the hearing.

Bourque’s case was scheduled to go to jury trial on April 6.

Blackmore died on on April 2, 2017 at a Penticton home.

Devon Blackmore was a goalie for a Salmon Arm Midget recreational hockey team during the 2014/2015 season. Courtesy: Calvin Hector

Bourque wasn’t charged until May 28, 2018, more than one year after Blackmore’s death.

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Mother of Penticton teen speaks out after a woman is charged in his death – May 30, 2018

The circumstances surrounding Blackmore’s death have not been revealed publicly in court, but search warrants documents obtained by Global News shortly after Bourque was criminally charged outline what investigators believe happened.

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READ MORE: Mother of Penticton teen speaks out after a woman is charged in his death

Blackmore’s death was classified as a suspected overdose. Bourque told police that she injected Blackmore with morphine to alleviate the pain that he was experiencing.

She told a responding officer that she had to inject the morphine for Blackmore because he didn’t know how to do it himself, according to the search warrant records.

The circumstances surrounding the death of Blackmore will be read into the court record during an upcoming sentencing hearing.

Blackmore’s mother, Lorrie, has attended every court appearance since Bourque was charged, wearing a ribbon that says “Devon.”

She burst out with emotion from the gallery as Bourque formally entered the surprise guilty plea.

“For us it’s been a long three years, very emotional, up and downs, but while I was not looking forward to sitting through a trial and hearing every minute of how Devon passed away, at the same time I was very much looking forward to having a jury say the words ‘guilty,’ so I have mixed feelings too,” she said.

Lorrie Blackmore outside the Penticton law courts on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. Shelby Thom\Global News

She described her teenage son as an avid hockey player who played for Penticton minor hockey and Salmon Arm minor hockey in his youth.

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Blackmore was about to graduate from Penticton Secondary School at the time of his death.

“He was one of the all-around kids who was friends with everybody,” his mother said. “He could hang out in the pit with the smoking crowd and go play chess with the chess club or hang out with the jocks and talk hockey or just about anything other sport.

Manslaughter is defined as a homicide committed without the intention to cause death, although there may have been an intention to cause harm.

The offence of manslaughter carries no minimum sentence, unless committed with a firearm. Sentences can vary from probation to life behind bars.

“I’m hopeful for time, but I am realistic that she might only get a couple years,” Lorrie Blackmore said.

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Bourque is not in custody. Her next court appearance is scheduled for June 8 for sentencing. She declined to comment while exiting the court room.

“We have 17 years of memories but we will have another 40 years with missed birthdays and missed Christmases, no grandkids from him, so that is the hardest part — is looking forward without him,” Blackmore said.

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