Jessie Romeo Fougere was sentenced to 120 days jail on Wednesday for the 2017 killing of Troy Streeper.
Fougere was credited 780 days for presentence custody, and was also issued 24 months probation, a 10-year mandatory firearms ban, and ordered to submit a DNA sample.
Streeper, 55, was found dead in Pouce Coupe on Feb. 16, 2017, and his death was treated as suspicious at the time.
Streeper was struck dead after one punch, following an altercation with Fougere the same day.
Judge Rita Bowry say the death was not premediated and did not fit the criteria for murder, calling the incident "happenstance."
"Mr. Fougere was not seeking out Mr. Streeper by any means," said Bowry. "There is no doubt that the events that led to Mr. Streeper’s death were pretty unexpected."
Both Fougere, who was 22 at the time of the offence, and Streeper were involved in the drug scene in both Fort St John and Dawson Creek, court heard.
Streeper was from Fort Nelson but had been living in Dawson Creek at the time of his death. Fougere and Streeper were known to each other.
Some bad blood existed between the two. Streeper had sold a car to a friend of Fougere for $500, it later turned out the vehicle was stolen.
The car was recovered by the owner, after several young males assaulted Fougere’s friend, while smashing in windows at a residence. Fougere blamed Streeper for the incident, court heard.
The two were in Pouce Coupe, and happened to cross paths at an apartment where Fougere was buying crack cocaine.
Several witnesses were offered the drugs by Fougere to keep quiet.
"Mr. Fougere was not there innocently, he was there to facilitate a drug sale," said Crown prosecution Matthew Blow, calling the drugs offered a 'hush tax'.
The Dawson Creek RCMP and North District Major Crimes Unit had been investigating, and police arrested Fougere at a home in Charlie Lake in December 2018.
Fougere was arrested after an "extensive attempt" at negotiation before officers moved in and arrested him, police said at the time.
A joint submission of 900 days was suggested as a sentence but was shot down by Bowry, calling the sentence 'inappropriate'. However, Fougere was credited for his presentence custody.
According to an obituary, Streeper was remembered as a happy and busy person with a love for sports and a talent for woodworking.
Streeper grew up playing little league baseball with the Dawson Creek Knights of Columbus Yankees, and was a member of the South Dawson 4H club.
He was also remembered as a trucker and a boater, operating the Clayhurst Ferry Crossing with his dad and hauling freight on the Liard River.
Fougere is well known to police, with prior convictions and fines for assault, fraud, and uttering threats in Charlie Lake, Taylor, and Fort St. John, as well as several driving convictions.
— with files from Tom Summer
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Eds. note: Article updates with further details from court, and corrects that Fougere was credited 780 days for presentence custody.]