By Tim Petruk, Kamloops This Week
More than 50 people packed a small Kamloops courtroom yesterday to witness the sentencing of a Salmon Arm woman who admitted to murder after arranging to have her teenaged lover shoot her other boyfriend in a schoolyard.
Monica Sikorski was handed a life sentence with seven years before parole eligibility for her role in the shooting death of Tyler Myers. Sikorski was 17 on Nov. 21, 2008, when Myers was killed in the schoolyard of Bastion elementary in Salmon Arm.
Until yesterday, a publication ban protected her identity due to her youth. She was sentenced as an adult, however, and her name can now be made public.
Now 25, Sikorski entered a surprise guilty plea to second-degree murder in November on what was supposed to be the first day of her month-long trial. According to an agreed statement of facts read in court, Sikorski was involved in romantic relationships with two men in the fall of 2008 — Myers, 22, and a 16-year-old classmate.
The statement of facts said Sikorski walked Myers into the schoolyard with knowledge her teenaged boyfriend was hiding in a nearby stand of trees, armed with a rifle.
“She knew it was possible [the gunman] would shoot at Myers to scare him, but she thought it unlikely,” the document reads.
The gunman fired twice from the trees, knocking Myers to the ground. He then emerged and, according to the agreed statement of facts, fired a final shot at Sikorski’s urging.
The agreed statement of facts paints a different picture than the one that emerged earlier this year during the trial of the gunman, who was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder. His name remains protected by a publication ban pending his sentence.
Taking the stand in his own defence, the gunman described Sikorski as the mastermind behind the plan to kill Myers.
Sikorski and the gunman were interviewed by police in the days after Myers’ death, both denying involvement. Court heard they staged the murder to look like a drug deal gone wrong.
Both suspects were arrested in 2012 following an elaborate RCMP Mr. Big operation targeting Sikorski, during which she confessed to an undercover Mountie she thought was a high-ranking gangster.
Sikorski apologized to Myers’ friends and family, many of whom filled up one half of a packed courtroom.
“I’m going forward with this plea to acknowledge what I’ve done,” she said. “What happened in 2008 changed everyone’s lives. What happened to Tyler — no one deserves that ever to happen to them.
“I don’t expect Tyler’s family to forgive me for what I’ve done. I will always live with that.”
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan cited the baffling lack of motive in sentencing Sikorski.
“At the time of this offence, Ms. Sikorski had everything,” Donegan said. “She had opportunities that many kids can only dream of. This is what makes her crime so inexplicable.”
Donegan acknowledged a strong likelihood Sikorski will become a contributing member of society after serving her time behind bars, but remained puzzled about why Myers was killed.
“There does, for me, still remain a very important unanswered question — that is, why?” she said. “It does, to me, seem inexplicable.”
Myers’ supporters in court stood and watched as Sikorski, who had been free on bail, was led away by sheriffs.
Outside court, Donna Linklater said she was disappointed Sikorski wasn’t placed in handcuffs in front of the gallery.
“I was looking forward to the cuffs on her and walking her out the door,” she said. “But she’s behind the door now.”
Linklater, the common-law spouse of Myers’ deceased father, refused to accept Sikorski’s apology.
“I thought it was a false apology,” she said. “She could have come forward two days, two weeks, two months after and said she was sorry and she didn’t.”
Barbara Myers, the victim’s mother, said she is happy with the apology and the outcome.
“I’m satisfied with it,” she said. “What made an impression on me is Monica addressed me personally and expressed her heartfelt remorse.”
Myers said she hugged Sikorski’s mother prior to the sentencing hearing. She said she expects the two to remain friendly.
“I have no hard feelings toward her family,” she said. “They’re good people. I feel bad for the family.”
In addition to the life sentence, Sikorski was also ordered to submit a sample of her DNA to a national criminal database.
The gunman is expected to be sentenced in January. The Crown is seeking an adult sentence, meaning his identity would no longer be protected by a publication ban.