Sixty-five days after he got out of prison, Owen Dyck attacked and robbed three people in a west-Edmonton motel, stole a car and led police on a high-speed chase.
On Thursday, he went back to prison, this time for eight years.
At age 23, Dyck’s criminal record includes 43 convictions. He has spent most of his adult life in custody. Most of his formal schooling was completed while he was at the Edmonton Young Offender Centre.
“The reality is, Mr. Dyck only knows crime,” Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Rob Graesser said at Thursday’s sentencing. “Jail time seems to be little deterrent to him.”
On the evening of Aug. 26, 2017, Dyck and an unidentified accomplice waited outside a room at the West Edmonton Motor Inn. When one of the male victims stepped outside his room to go to his car, he was confronted by Dyck and his accomplice wearing masks.
Dyck carried a rifle; his partner was armed with a machete. One of the victims was punched in the face and pushed back into the motel room.
The victim and another male friend in the room were ordered to strip to their underwear, court was told during the four-day trial last month.
The rifle was pointed at a woman who was also in the room. She was forced to the floor and struck in the head.
No shots were fired.
“The emotional and mental toll on them was obvious from their testimony,” Graesser said of the victims. “I can only imagine their terror as they were attacked, beaten and robbed in their hotel room.”
One of the victims suffered chipped teeth and cuts and bruises to his face. He was sliced down his back by the man with the machete.
‘Or he simply doesn’t care’
Two police officers happened to be in the motel parking lot when Dyck and his partner, still wearing masks, bolted from the room. Dyck ran to the Mercedes, carrying stolen car keys. His partner went to another vehicle.
Police followed the Mercedes.
Dyck ran red lights, drove on the wrong side of the road and reached a speed of 140 km/h. At the time, he had a court-ordered driving prohibition. The August 2017 police pursuit was the fifth time he’d been involved in a high-speed chase.
“It is remarkable that no one was injured in this chase,” Graesser said. “Clearly Mr. Dyck has no appreciation for the potential consequences of his actions. Or he simply doesn’t care.”
Dyck abandoned the car in a northwest Edmonton alley. The rifle, wrapped in a blanket, was left in the back seat, along with a balaclava.
The Edmonton police tactical team found Dyck inside a house near the stolen car. DNA testing on the face mask matched Dyck.
His accomplice has not been identified.
Convicted on 10 charges
Graesser noted Dyck was diagnosed with learning disabilities as a child and has had problems with drugs, including methamphetamine, crack cocaine, heroin and opioids.
The judge expressed concern that Dyck’s crimes appear to be getting more serious.
The Crown suggested a sentence of 14 to 17 years; the defence asked for a range of four to seven years.
Dyck was convicted of 10 criminal charges, including break and enter, firearms and driving offences, stealing a motor vehicle and being pursued by a peace officer.
Graesser arrived at a total sentence of 16 years. But he noted a sentence that long “could be crushing and leave [Dyck] without any hope for the future.”
Dyck showed no expression when the judge announced he would reduce the overall sentence to 11 years. With credit for time served, the sentence will be reduced to just over eight years.
The judge noted Dyck’s lack of family support. There was no one in court to support him.