A Kilworthy man’s decision to lie to the police wasted valuable time in their investigation into the disappearance of Justin Evans, a Bracebridge Court heard yesterday.
Appearing virtually, Kenneth McKinney, 71, was sentenced to six months of house arrest for obstruction of justice.
Justin Evans of Kilworthy went missing in December of 2020. The 22-year-old’s body was found in May of 2021 near the trailer park where he lived.
McKinney lived with Evans and McKinney’s grandson, who was one of Evan’s best friends. McKinney’s wife and his grandson’s girlfriend also lived in the mobile home at the time of the disappearance.
When McKinney was interviewed by police following the disappearance he told them he had been in Barrie with his grandson, which police later determined to be untrue. The court heard that McKinney lied about his whereabouts because he had been in the middle of a four-day “bender” and was embarrassed by his actions.
Crown attorney Lyndsay Jeanes said McKinney’s decision to lie about his whereabouts led police down a “rabbit hole” and diverted valuable resources away from the search for Evans. Jeanes said no one is obligated to speak with the police but when they do they are obligated to tell the truth.
Jeanes said McKinney has a criminal record that includes crimes of violence, fraud and theft, which have led to jail time in the past. She added that he hasn’t been charged since 2016, when he was arrested for impaired driving.
The court heard victim impact statements from Evans’ mother and sister detailing their heartbreak since his disappearance and McKinney’s roll in contributing to their ongoing grief.
In a statement read by Jeanes, Justin Evans’ mother Jamie Wise said McKinney chose to lie to police about her son’s whereabouts., and “for five months and five days I lived an unending nightmare.”
She now suffers from horrible nightmares as well as stress and anxiety, court heard.
Jeanes also read the statement of Kristen Evans, Justin’s sister, wherein she said McKinney’s decision to lie diverted valuable resources away from the search for her brother. She said it was even more traumatizing that McKinney’s grandson was Evans best friend.
“When Justin needed it the most, Ken lied,” read the statement.
McKinney also addressed the court and said he was sorry for what he had done and apologized to Evans’ family.
The sentence of six months house arrest was a joint submission from the Crown attorney and the defense. There was some discussion over whether McKinney should be allowed to drink alcohol during the house arrest. The defense argued that McKinney is a lifelong alcoholic and prohibiting him from drinking could potentially led to him violating the terms of his sentence.
Justice Stone said the joint position was charitable given the nature of the offense. He said the crime was “selfish” and may well have delayed the finding of Justin Evans.
He agreed with the Crown attorney that McKinney should not be allowed to drink alcohol during his house arrest, and advised McKinney that he could look at overcoming the urge to drink as a form of penance for what he had done.
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