On May 28, 2021 Paul Henry Trindle (25) pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the death of Jared Letendre (25) in Peerless Lake on June 25, 2018. He was originally charged with second-degree murder.
The guilty plea was heard before Justice E.J. Simpson in Peace River Court of Queen’s Bench. On Nov. 16, 2020, Trindle pled guilty, but did not acknowledge the facts, so the plea was not accepted.
Crown prosecutor Terrance Hudson read in the agreed statement of facts. Trindle and the victim, Letendre, knew each other, Hudson told the court, and both lived in the small community of Peerless Lake. A short while before June 25, 2018, Trindle and his ex-girlfriend of one-year broke up.
On June 25, 2018, from 1 a.m. to 3:30 a.m., Letendre (the victim), Trindle’s ex-girlfriend and others were drinking and travelling around the community in search of alcohol or cigarettes.
At various times, Trindle rode with them in a vehicle, or they saw him.
During the beginning of the sentencing hearing, an issue arose around whether or not Trindle was intoxicated. A sentencing hearing on this issue will be scheduled in the future.
The agreed statement of fact says that around 3:30 a.m., Trindle’s ex left on an OHV and offered Letendre a ride. They drove past Trindle on the road.
Trindle grabbed a metal bat and ran up the hill after them.
At the top of a hill, they stopped so that Letendre could finish his drink, have a cigarette and relieve himself, added the Crown.
Letendre saw Trindle and asked ‘Are you going to hit me?’ said the Crown. Trindle hit Letendre with the bat. Trindle’s ex witnessed four or five blows, before running home and calling 911. She came across Trindle’s brother and asked him to help. The brother ran up the hill. The brother tried to stop Trindle, but Trindle asked him ‘You want to die, too?’
The brother witnessed Trindle hit Letendre 10 or 11 times.
At 4:05 a.m., two people carried Letendre to the house on the back of a quad, with one of them holding his head, said the Crown. They performed CPR for one hour and 45 minutes until EMS arrived. EMS pronounced Letendre dead at 6:05 a.m.
At 4:30 a.m., Trindle went to Letendre’s girlfriend’s house and told her he’d killed her boyfriend because he tried to touch Trindle’s ex, said the Crown. Police found an aluminum baseball bat with the end broken off. Letendre’s blood was on the bat and on Trindle.
The autopsy showed that Letendre died from blunt force trauma to his head, said the Crown. He was hit at least 16 times, with many of the blows to the left side of his face and head.
Trindle had four previous convictions as an adult. None of these included violence.
The crime was a complete loss of control by a man who was usually not violent, said the defence. Trindle had a rough childhood. In Grade 10, he stopped attending school because he was high.
In custody, he’s taken various courses on anger management, co-dependent relationships, etc. He recognizes that there is something “seriously wrong in his inner life.”
Trindle was arrested on June 25, 2018 and has been in custody since. A Gladue and presentence report were presented. Also, victim impact statements from six of Letendre’s family members.
These describe Letendre as an outgoing caring father, uncle, brother and son. He was also a hunter who provided for his family. One says, Letendre was “a person who was always there.” He would come over to visit unannounced and say, ‘I knew you were missing me so I came over.’ The relatives also spoke about the emotional and physical impact the Letendre’s homicide had on his family.
The Crown recommended a sentence of 10 years. The defence recommended five, with enhanced credit because of COVID-19 which would equal time served.
Trindle’s next court date is June 14 at 2 p.m. in Peace River Court of Queen’s Bench to set a date for a sentencing hearing on the issue of intoxication.