Families cheer Tremblay verdict. 'Street dad' plied teens with alcohol and drugs
- Families cheer Tremblay verdict
'Street dad' plied teens with alcohol and drugs
BY KEITH FRASER, THE PROVINCEFEBRUARY 24, 2013
Grant Petrygan, left, and Angela Lalonde, parents of Kayla Lalonde, hope Tremblay is labelled a dangerous offender.
Photograph by: Jason Payne, PNG, The ProvinceOne of the girls referred to him as her "street dad" and others knew him as "God."
Martin Tremblay, a convicted sex offender and drug dealer, liked to invite young, vulnerable teenage girls to his house to party.
He had a driver and drug associate who frequently transported the girls to and from the house and was known to them as "God's driver" and his Richmond home was known to some as "God's home."
Once he got the girls into his home, he would ply them with alcohol and drugs and encourage them to party it up.
Kayla Lalonde, one of two girls who died of a drug and alcohol overdose while partying at Tremblay's home, had a particularly close relationship with Tremblay, who was convicted on Friday of two counts of criminal negligence causing the death of the girls.
In addition to booze and drugs, Tremblay gave Kayla food, cigarettes, money and a cellphone.
Kayla, 16, and Martha Jackson, 17, the other girl who died of an alcohol and drug overdose during the party, had known Tremblay for several months before that fateful day in March 2010.
The two girls had planned to drink a 26-ounce bottle of gin and began drinking in earnest in the early afternoon.
They were joined by a third girl and then invited by Tremblay to his home.
By the time they arrived, the girls were already intoxicated and continued to consume alcohol provided to them by Tremblay.
Kayla and Martha each snorted a line of what Tremblay told them was a mixture of cocaine and ecstasy. In fact, they had snorted powdered methadone.
The two girls became sick, began throwing up and passed out.
Instead of offering them medical help, he took advantage of them, sexually touching two of them.
And at one point, Tremblay left the girls passed out in his home and drove to his landlord in Vancouver and paid off his rent.
Sometime after his return, he noticed Kayla having difficulty breathing. Again, instead of calling 911, he called a drug associate for assistance.
With the help of a woman who was recovering from an alcohol and cocaine binge at his home, Tremblay put Kayla into his car and drove her to a location in Burnaby.
He and others lifted the girl out and placed her on the ground. Only as Tremblay was driving away was a call placed to 911, but by the drug associate rather than Tremblay.
Paramedics rushed to the scene and took Kayla to the hospital, but she died.
Meanwhile Tremblay had returned to his home. The girl who had accompanied Kayla and Martha to Tremblay's home had woken up feeling sick.
Tremblay drove her to a Tim Hortons restaurant for some apple juice and returned to watch some TV. Martha remained passed out on a mattress in the living room.
Eventually Tremblay went to sleep but woke later to the realization that Martha was in distress. Paramedics were called to the scene, but Martha could not be revived and she died.
In finding Tremblay guilty, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Butler said his actions were irresponsible and amounted to a wanton and reckless disregard for the lives and safety of the two girls.
He said the fact that the teens were under the influence of alcohol when they arrived and later under the influence of drugs made them dependent upon him and they were in his charge.
"They turned to him as an adult as a place where they could party."
Tremblay facilitated and encouraged the girls and exercised control over their behaviour, he added. If the two girls had received medical help, they might have survived, said the judge.
"His obligation to obtain medical attention for the girls arose at a time when there was a reasonable probability that medical attention would have made a difference."
Dozens of spectators jammed into a Vancouver courtroom erupted in applause as the judge read out his verdicts Friday.
In addition to the criminal negligence charges, Tremblay was also found guilty of one count of obstruction of justice, for trying to evade the police investigation. Two lesser charges of failing to provide the necessaries of life were stayed.
Outside court Friday, Angela Lalonde, Kayla's mother, was visibly relieved at the conviction.
"There's been justice for my daughter and Martha. It's been really hard, this whole trial and everything. I'm just glad he's finally convicted."
Grant Petrygan, Lalonde's partner, told reporters that he hopes the Crown succeeds in getting Tremblay declared a dangerous offender, which would result in an indefinite jail term.
He said he wished Tremblay had remained behind bars from a prior conviction involving sex offences against underage girls.
"He should have been put on some sort of restriction to not be around kids, but that wasn't the case. This is sadly the outcome."
Kelvin Bee, a relation to Kayla, said he had to hold back tears as he listened to the details of the crimes committed by Tremblay.
"It was hard to hear the history of how they had passed away."
He added: "We're happy but we're sad. The family still carries the grief."
Tremblay's next court appearance is March 6. In addition, he is facing another trial in May in connection with seven alleged sex offences involving girls aged 14 to 18.
He was convicted in 2002 of drugging underage aboriginal girls and sexually assaulting them.
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