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Old August 8th, 2009, 01:24 AM
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Default UPDATE: Stabbing accused not a bad kid

Stabbing accused not a bad kid, friend says

13-year-old says arrested teen had just started carrying a knife to protect himself in a drug- and violence-riddled neighbourhood

By Darah Hansen, VANCOUVER SUNAugust 7, 2009 10:01 PM



SURREY - The 14-year-old boy accused of fatally stabbing Surrey dad Sam McGowan only recently began carrying a knife to protect himself in a rough neighbourhood rife with drug use and violent racial tensions between teens, said a younger friend who was with him on the night of the murder.

“He’s not a bad kid,” the 13-year-old said Friday.

Both youths were arrested Wednesday night following an intense manhunt on foot and by helicopter for McGowan’s killer.

The 14-year-old, who cannot be identified because of his age, made his first court appearance Friday on a charge of second-degree murder.

The 13-year-old boy has not been charged in the case.

In an interview with The Vancouver Sun, the 13-year-old said he and his friend were hanging out together Wednesday night and had drifted from home to the area of the 14800 block of 90th Avenue.

The younger boy said trouble started when his friend “jumped” another teenager in the neighbourhood and stole his cellphone. The pair took off running when an adult man came after them, shouting threats.

“He chased us in a car and said he was going to kill us,” the boy said.

The boys split up, with the 13-year-old running home.

Neighbours said they saw a young teen jump over a backyard fence around 7 p.m. Wednesday, with McGowan, whom they recognized, in hot pursuit on foot.

As McGowan closed in on the youth, the boy turned and appeared to throw a punch at the older man. The neighbours, who asked not to be named, quickly realized the incident had turned deadly when they saw that McGowan was bleeding profusely from his chest.

McGowan’s girlfriend, Michelle Proulx, said she found McGowan collapsed and gasping for breath on the front lawn of a neighbour’s house — about a half a block away from their own home.

Proulx said she and McGowan had been watching television together around 7 p.m. when McGowan learned his 15-year-old son, Conor, needed his help, and he ran outside.

“He was protecting his son, that’s true,” she said.

The 42-year-old movie-set painter was rushed to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Proulx said McGowan did not know his attacker. “It was very random,” she said.

On Friday, a modest memorial of white roses and lilies, messages of support and photos had been set up on the front lawn of the family home McGowan shared with Proulx, Conor and Proulx’s two young daughters.

Neighbours have also placed a candle and a small bouquet of flowers on the spot where he was stabbed.

Proulx said she and her children have received “a great deal of support” from friends, family and McGowan’s co-workers.

But coping with the death has left her numb.

“I finally fell asleep at about three o’clock this morning, woke up at six and rolled over looking for Sam and he wasn’t there,” she said, her voice breaking with grief. “I’m like a walking zombie.”

Proulx said Conor is also “devastated” by his father’s death, but “he’s a strong boy and he’s handling it quite well for the situation and what he witnessed.”

Proulx said she is pleased a suspect has been arrested in the case, but said she worries he will receive only a “tap on the wrist” from the courts because of his young age.

Still, she vowed to attend every upcoming court appearance, adding, “Sam would have been there for me.”

The mother of the 13-year-old boy arrested in the case said she had warned her son several times to stay away from the youth charged in the murder.

“I’ve been trying since day one to keep them apart,” she said of the older youth.

The mother said her son spent a night in jail before he was released without charges.

His high-profile arrest Wednesday night — which saw several police officers arrive in front of their rental home — has caused friction in the neighbourhood, which is a blend of older-style, run-down rental units and large, new single-family homes.

“We’ve had some of the neighbours threatening us with vigilante justice. They are pretty angry right now,” she said.

A man who answered the door at the home where 14-year-old youth lived with his father prior to the arrest said his lawyer had advised him not to talk about the case.

dahansen@vancouversun.com

BATES

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Old August 8th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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"13-year-old says arrested teen had just started carrying a knife to protect himself in a drug- and violence-riddled neighbourhood"

“He’s not a bad kid,” the 13-year-old said Friday.


All good kids rob their peers at knifepoint when they want a new cell phone, don't they?


Big T



Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.



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Old August 8th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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13 is always a good jUdge of character too!

BATES

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