A central Alberta man who drove the getaway vehicle in an Eckville-area murder 12 years ago has been sentenced to two years in jail.
With pre-trial credit for time already served, 46-year-old Shayne Earl Gulka will serve the next 274 days, or just over nine months, behind bars for his part in the murder of Bradley William Webber.
Webber was shot to death inside his RV the night of October 24, 2006 by two men known to be members of a Calgary street gang called the F.O.B. (Fresh off the Boat or Forever Our Brother) in an attempt to take over Webber’s drug supply and trafficking business.
Gulka was asked by those gang members, childhood friend Kevin Brown (who died earlier this year) and a man identified in court only as ‘A.B.’, to give them a ride that day to Webber’s residence, with Gulka unaware of their plan to kill Webber.
In an agreed statement of facts submitted to court on Tuesday, Gulka is said to have heard shots fired from within Webber’s trailer while waiting for Brown and A.B. outside in a nearby vehicle. Gulka then drove the pair to another nearby residence after Brown and A.B. left Webber’s trailer following the shooting.
It was during that short drive that Gulka learned of Webber’s death.
Gulka was sentenced Friday in Red Deer Court of Queen's Bench on a count of accessory after the fact to murder. The joint submission by Crown prosecutor Adam May and defence lawyer Michael Scrase also included that Gulka provide a DNA sample and pay a $200 Victim Fine Surcharge.
Gulka’s original charges of first degree murder and kidnapping were withdrawn.
A.B. has been granted total immunity in this case and will not face punishment for his involvement in Webber’s murder.
Prior to sentencing, Webber’s daughter Tori tearfully read a victim impact statement in court, saying the loss of her father has created a huge void in her life and has since led to struggles with depression, two suicide attempts and substance abuse.
“My pain and suffering will last indefinitely,” she told court.
Gulka read a short letter in court sending his regrets to Webber's daughter and family, saying in a trembling voice, "I just want to say I'm sorry."
Outside court, defence lawyer Michael Scrase told reporters there are no winners in a case like this but you have to consider the entire circumstances.
“Mr. Gulka spent the last 12 years of his life potentially living in fear of the witness now referred to as A.B.,” stated Scrase. “He struggled with addictions over those years, he paid a price. Then you have Kevin Brown who was charged with this murder as well and the police couldn’t find him for two years in Calgary for some reason and then unfortunately Mr. Brown ended up dead over a drug overdose.”
As for Webber, Scrase says he lived a ‘life on the edge.'
“He was a drug dealer at the time, allegedly owed a debt at that point in time in his life to some serious drug dealers,” adds Scrase. “He ends up dead and leaves a family behind but then we’ve got A.B., this witness that we can’t identify who ended up with complete immunity out of these circumstances. I think if the public was fully aware of who A.B. is and what his circumstances were, I think the public would question the decisions of the police and the prosecutors in terms of giving such a person immunity.”
Scrase says its unfortunate Gulka will be the only person to serve jail time for Bradley Webber’s murder, despite the fact it was A.B. and Kevin Brown who shot Webber to death.
“Mr. Gulka would have liked to have had his trial on this,” adds Scrase. “He would have liked the public to know all the facts but I can’t think of any specific lessons that really are learned in this other than being involved in the drug scene is a tough way to live your life.”
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