Pangnirtung man sentenced in 2020 shooting death of cousin
Steven Evic will receive life in prison with permission to ask for parole in 13 years
A Pangnirtung man was sentenced to life in prison Monday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of his second-cousin.
Judge Neil Sharkey handed down the sentence against Steven Evic in the Nunavut Court of Justice. Evic won’t be eligible to apply for parole until after 13 years.
Evic, 36, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder on Aug. 31, 2020, in connection with the death of Sam Evic.
According to the facts read out in court, on Aug. 28, 2020, Sam Evic, 32, was at his residence with three friends drinking and dancing. His son was playing video games in one bedroom and his daughter was sleeping in another.
At around 1 a.m., RCMP received a call that someone had been shot. They arrived at Sam Evic’s residence to find him lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the head.
Based on the trajectory of the bullet, it appeared he had been shot through an open window.
One of the friends, Melinda Pitsiulak, told police she was hugging Sam Evic at the time he was wounded. After the shot, the other two other friends fled while Pitsiulak hid in the bathroom with Sam Evic’s children.
A neighbour told police that when he heard the gunshot he looked outside and saw a man walking with what looked like a rifle covered by a coat.
Pitsiulak told police she had previously been in a relationship with Steven Evic.
She also told them of a previous incident in which Steven Evic seemed to be upset to see Pitsiulak in Sam Evic’s home. She said Steven Evic had tried to climb in through a window, but was stopped by two people.
Pitsiulak believed it was the same window that the bullet came through on the night Sam Evic was killed.
Court heard that when police went to Steven Evic’s home after the shooting he was not there but that his brother, Daniel, was.
Daniel Evic told police he had not seen Steven Evic in two days.
Court heard that on the afternoon prior to the shooting, Steven Evic had been drinking before leaving on his all-terrain vehicle. Daniel Evic didn’t see him when he returned for five to 10 minutes that night, but heard him shouting and swearing.
Daniel Evic later told police his rifle was missing.
Later, Steven Evic was found in an abandoned church beside his residence. When police entered the church, he said: “I give up.”
Asked why he was giving up, Steven Evic replied: “I did something really bad.”
He added that he thought he had shot someone while he was drunk.
In court prior to sentencing, four of Sam Evic’s family members — brothers John and Jamie Evic, and parents Billy and Lina Evic — offered victim impact statements.
The family spoke of how much Sam meant to them and how difficult life has been for them and his children since he died.
Jamie Evic thanked Steven Evic for pleading guilty and avoiding the pain of a trial. He also said he forgave him, because that is what his grandmother would have wanted him to do.
Steven Evic’s defence lawyer, Robert Warren, said there is “no excuse” for his crime but added Steven Evic has a history of substance abuse since he was 10 years old, namely alcohol.
Given the chance to address the court, Steven Evic told the victim’s family: “I don’t know how to say it. I’m really sorry.”
The life sentence with the ability to seek parole after 13 years was a joint submission from the Crown and defence that Sharkey accepted.
“The impact that Sam’s death has had on your family can only be described as colossal,” Sharkey told the man’s family.
He added the sentence is not the value of “a measure of a life,” but a punishment for what Steven Evic did.
According to the sentence, Steven Evic was also given a lifetime ban on using firearms except for sustenance reasons when out on the land.