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Trail man sentenced to 6.5 years for beating death of Trail senior

Joel Anderson appeared in person for his sentencing in the Rossland courthouse Tuesday afternoon
Joel Anderson appeared in the Rossland courthouse on Tuesday to hear his sentencing for manslaughter in the death of Harrold Paddock, 78, of Trail. Photo: Sheri Regnier

Warning: This story contains violent details some readers may find disturbing.

A Trail man has been sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for the beating death of Trail senior Harrold Paddock in August 2017.

Justice E. David Crossin handed down the sentence to Joel Anderson, now in his early thirties, in the Rossland courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

Anderson has been behind bars since 2017 serving sentences on other crimes including arson. Time on those sentences concluded in October 2022, though Anderson remained behind bars awaiting trial for second degree murder of Paddock.

After a trial by Justice Crossin was held in Vancouver Supreme Court last year, Anderson was found guilty of the lesser offence, manslaughter.

During Tuesday’s sentencing in which Anderson appeared in person, Crossin credited him for 539 days served, though each pre-trial day is counted as 1.5, thus 809 days served.

This leaves Anderson with 1,633.5 days left to serve for his manslaughter conviction, or four years and seven months.

During the sentencing the judge noted a victim impact statement by Paddock’s daughter, who said she has suffered much sadness, anxiety and depression since her father’s brutal death.

In the early hours of Aug. 22, 2017, Trail police responded to calls of a “man down” in the middle of Bay Avenue near Highway 3B.

Officers arrived on scene to find the unconscious victim, later identified as Harrold Paddock, laying in the road and bleeding from his head.

Paddock died in hospital 27 days later, never having regained consciousness.

“In the early morning hours of Aug. 22, 2017, 78-year old Harrold Paddock, with the assistance of a walker, was making his way across the main street in Trail, when he was suddenly attacked by the accused and beaten to death; of this there is no doubt,” Crossin wrote in his judgement.

The judge, however, said he couldn’t be sure of Anderson’s intent to kill.

“I have carefully observed and listened to the accused in the witness stand over the course of three days and carefully reviewed and listened to his statement,” the judge wrote. “On the critical issue the evidence has, on a whole, left me in a state of incertitude. Frankly, I am unable to come to any conclusion with the requisite degree of certainty. I must ask myself, on the whole of the evidence, am I sure the accused possessed the required mens rea for murder. The answer to that question is that I am plainly not sure.”

In the judgement it is noted that Anderson was wearing his father’s steel-toed boots when he “stomped” on Mr. Paddock’s head more than once, causing a skull fracture, and fractures to the upper and lower jaw and nose.

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Sheri Regnier

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