A man who entered another man’s home in St. John’s, stabbed him in the back with a crowbar and ran off with $2,100 has been sentenced to four years and two months behind bars.
Michael Samson was given the jail term Thursday in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court. With credit given for time he’s already spent in custody, he has three years and nine and a half months left on his term.
Samson was convicted of robbery, break and enter, assault with a weapon and breach of court orders in connection with an incident at a home on Thorburn Road on March 5, 2017.
Police had been called to the home around 6 a.m. that day and found a man lying on the floor with a puncture wound on his back. Believing his missing truck to have been stolen, police located the victim's common-law wife, Gina Rosemary Penney, driving it in Mount Pearl with Samson in the back seat.
Police found the victim’s empty wallet in a pouch on the back of the driver’s seat and two full takeout coffee cups in the front console. On the floor in the back they found a jacket with possible blood stains, but the court heard investigators had chosen not to examine it forensically, choosing to focus instead on the hoodie Samson was wearing. The victim’s blood was later found on the sleeve of the hoodie.
Police also learned the truck hadn’t been stolen: Penney was driving the vehicle with his consent. She had also been charged, but was acquitted.
The victim testified he had been asleep on the couch in his living room when he opened his eyes to see Samson standing over him with a crowbar, saying he was there to collect $5,000 in drug money owed to him by someone in the house. The victim denied any money was owed, but took $60 from his pocket and laid it on the coffee table. He said Samson had demanded his wallet and the pair got into an altercation, leaving the victim with a laceration to the head, abrasions to his eye and a three-centimetre cut to his back which required staples. He said he had given Samson his wallet after Samson had stabbed him in the back with the crowbar, and Samson left.
The victim said he had around $2,200 in $100 bills in his wallet, having been paid in cash for a vehicle repair job he had completed earlier in the day.
In sentencing Thursday, Justice Donald Burrage said while Samson has a criminal record, it's mostly dated. He said Samson relapsed to past behaviour in 2016 due to a series of unfortunate events in his life. It's not an excuse, Burrage said, but an explanation.
"As is tragically often the case, his recent relapse into criminal behaviour was fueled by his addiction to drugs, this time cocaine," the judge said. "That said, he has proven his ability to behave as a productive law-abiding citizen in the past and his sentence must not be so crushing as to deprive him of this opportunity in the future.
"He is still a young man and has shown the ability in the past to control his demons. There is reason to believe that with proper counselling and support, he can do so again."