BATTLEFORD – A man charged in connection with the death of 27-year-old Ryan Gatzke in October 2019 was handed a 12-year prison sentence Wednesday.
A sentencing hearing was held in Battleford Court of King’s Bench for 25-year-old Isaac Melko before Judge Richard Danyliuk. Melko was charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
Melko didn’t show emotion throughout the sentencing hearing. He cried, however, when he read a statement to the court. There were approximately nine people in the gallery, with seven of them being family and friends of the victim.
When Melko was arrested in May 2020, he was also charged with carrying a rifle for the purpose of committing an indictable offence, possession of a rifle without a license, having his face masked with intent to commit an indictable offence, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a shotgun, rifle and handgun, and break and enter of a house in Battleford with intent to commit an indictable offence. Those charges were withdrawn as part of the joint submission by Crown prosecutors Kofi Nkrumah-Young and Jennifer Schmidt with defence counsel Blaine Beaven.
With time served while on remand waiting for his trial, Melko has 2,872 days left to serve. He was also ordered to provide his DNA to the National DNA Data Bank.
There is a ban on publication of the details of the trial until all accused in this case have gone through the court system.
In March 2022, Charles McLean pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to four years in prison. With credit for time served while on remand, McLean had just over 600 days left to serve at the time of his sentencing.
A trial for Jacob Ballantyne is scheduled for June. Ballantyne, who is from Edam, is charged with second-degree murder, pointing a handgun, break and enter of a house in Battleford with intent to commit an indictable offence, carrying a handgun for the purpose of committing an indictable offence, possession of a handgun without a license, having his face masked with the intent to commit an indictable offence, and being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a shotgun, a rifle, and a handgun.
There will also be a trial for a young offender who was 17 in 2019. He was charged with second-degree murder, break and enter with intent to commit an indictable offence, disguise with intent, carry a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence, possession of a firearm without a license, unauthorized possession of a firearm in a vehicle, and possession of a restricted firearm while prohibited.
Story corrected to say, according to the prosecutor's office, there will be a trial for the young offender.
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