Tyler Applegate’s spouse Kathy Cardinal remembers the late 27-year-old as a strong and honourable man whose life was cut short by an unforgivable choice.
Applegate died three weeks later at Royal University Hospital (RUH).
“This tragedy forced me to raise my children alone and this has been incredibly challenging to do,” said Cardinal during Friday’s victim impact statements.
“We had many plans for our family that were torn from us.”
The court heard that Applegate was close with his five children, now aged 7 to 13, along with numerous nieces and nephews. Children recalled treasured memories of motorcycle rides, play fighting and swimming.
He would build and repair their bicycles too.
In another victim impact statement, a long-time friend said Applegate dreamed of having a large family so he could “have his own baseball team.” Even his dog Biscuits is heartbroken by his death, the court heard.
Applegate’s sister spoke of seeing her brother in hospital. As he lay on his deathbed in RUH, about 30 family members surrounded him. Staff removed his breathing tube, and despite expectations, Applegate woke up.
“My brother loved his life so much that he pulled himself out of an induced coma and told us that he loved us before he died.”
His sister Selina Applegate, who uses a wheelchair, said she considered Tyler her “superhero.” She recalled how he would often carry her up flights of stairs, how he renovated her home to make it wheelchair-accessible and maintained all her vehicles.
Tyler’s spouse described the distress caused by living in the same home where the shooting happened, waking up from nightmares and looking out her window to check whether anyone was outside.
The fatal shooting happened on July 22, after Cardinal saw a man urinating on the family’s Westview neighbourhood fence. Applegate and another man chased him away without any physical confrontation. But minutes later, a black Nissan Titan Truck drove into the back alley near 33rd Street West and Avenue W North. Three men got out of the vehicle and approached the backyard.
Singharath fired a sawed-off rifle, striking Applegate in the abdomen.
Defence lawyer Laura Mischuk sought a manslaughter conviction, arguing the shooting could have been unintentional. Justice Richard Elson determined Thursday there was “no air of reality to the defence of accidental discharge.”
A second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for a minimum of 10 years.
Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss argued for parole ineligibility to be set at 15 years.
As he began sentencing submissions, Bliss described Singharath’s criminal record, which dates back to when he was 13 years old and includes offences like breaking and entering and aggravated assault.
“Mr. Singharath has a troubled history when it comes to firearms,” Bliss said.
He is also a Terror Squad gang member, according to the Crown.
Sentencing came to a halt Friday after the Crown considered entering a video as an exhibit. The defence wasn’t able to discuss its contents with Singharath, so Elson adjourned the matter.
Sentencing is slated to continue on June 22.