Kamloops This Week
A B.C. Supreme Court justice found an Ashcroft resident guilty of second-degree murder yesterday in connection to the beating death of his uncle.
Justice Dev Dley will now determine if Shane Gyoba, 29, should be sent for a psychiatric assessment to determine whether he was not criminally responsible for his actions on June 2, 2014.
During the trial, a neighbour testified he witnessed a smaller man beating a larger man, first with his fists and then with an object. He was unsure of what he saw, however, and did not immediately call 911.
RCMP later found Ed Gyoba’s body in a shallow grave. Shane Gyoba had washed himself and his clothes clean. A pathologist testified during trial that Ed died of blunt force trauma from an axe or shovel. He also ingested dirt, indicating it was forced into his mouth as he gagged.
“There is no air of reality to a self-defence argument,” Dley said, ruling that once Ed was on the ground, Shane had no legal reason to hit him with a shovel. The two may have initially started a consensual fight.
As he did during the trial, Shane Gyoba frequently cursed and rambled in court during sporadic outbursts.
Defence lawyer Don Campbell said his client has given him strict orders not to seek a finding of not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder. However, prosecutor Neil Flanagan told Dley the Crown has evidence not used in the trial that may lead to that finding.
Following the finding of guilt, a hearing was held to determine whether there is enough evidence to send him to a psychiatrist to determine his mental state at the time of the murder.
That hearing included testimony from his mother, Julie Gyoba. She testified Shane was a high performer in athletics and academics until about Grade 7, when his father Gene, a metallurgical engineer, was diagnosed with leukaemia.
That disease progressed swiftly. Gene also suffered a stroke during treatment, which altered his personality. Julie said Gene became overly critical of Shane, leading to problems in the home.
Gene died when Shane was in Grade 9. Shane started using marijuana. His actions led to arrests for petty crimes and he became increasingly hostile around the home.
Shane eventually moved to Ashcroft with his uncle Ed due to the friction in the Saskatoon home where he lived with his brother and mother. Shane graduated from Thompson Rivers University in 2012.
Soon after, Julie said his behaviour became more bizarre, including an incident where he cut off his finger, claiming his grandfather had done the same thing as a sacrifice to turn around his life.
“There was no truth to that,” Julie said.
The next month, Shane returned to Kamloops. He took a trip to Edmonton, she said, after receiving instructions from a television set. He also claimed his cousin’s daughter was actually his, given up by a former girlfriend by adoption.