Hamilton

Hamilton man sentenced to 7 years for bringing gun that killed 17-year-old Myah Larmond

A judge has sentenced a Hamilton man to seven years in jail after he brought his illegal handgun to a party in 2020, which someone else accidentally fired, killing 17-year-old Myah Larmond.

Judge said Cadence Beauparlant leaving behind Larmond after she was shot was 'evil' and 'monstrous'

A woman sitting.
Myah Larmond, 17, died after a gun accidentally fired during a house party in 2020. Cadence Beauparlant was sentenced to seven years for bringing the gun to the party. He pleaded guilty to the unauthorized possession of a loaded firearm. (Hamilton police)

A judge has sentenced a Hamilton man to seven years in jail after he brought his illegal handgun to a party in 2020, which someone else accidentally fired, killing 17-year-old Myah Larmond.

Cadence Beauparlant, 23, was initially charged with manslaughter but pleaded guilty to the unauthorized possession of a loaded firearm.

"Given the absolute irresponsible and reckless behaviour engaged in by the accused, which ended up in the senseless death of an innocent, young teenage girl, anything short of a significant penitentiary sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute," Superior Court Justice Toni Skarica said on Thursday during Beauparlant's sentencing hearing.

The court heard that Beauparlant was at a house party on St. Matthews Avenue near downtown Hamilton on July 15, 2020 with Larmond, her boyfriend Devante Skye-Davis and others. They were all drinking, doing drugs and socializing.

Beauparlant brought his Glock to the party, which Skarica said was passed around "like a toy," before it wound up in the hands of Skye-Davis, who pointed the gun at Larmond.

It mistakenly discharged, firing a bullet into Larmond's head around 4 a.m. on July 16.

Beauparlant left the house and took the pistol with him while Skye-Davis called police and waited with his girlfriend, who was still alive.

She wound up in the hospital and died roughly five hours later after paramedics and surgeons tried to save her, court heard. 

Skarica said Beauparlant's "total abandonment of a severely injured young girl who was bleeding and dying on the kitchen floor before him is an evil so monstrous, that it's hard for any normal person to comprehend how such a cold and callous act can even be attempted."

Beauparlant sat still in court Thursday, wearing a blue polo shirt and light blue jeans, sporting a light brown chinstrap beard and long ponytail. Skarica offered him a chance to speak, but Beauparlant didn't make any comments before hearing his fate.

Skye-Davis, 21 at the time of the shooting, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is set to receive his own sentence in May. 

Beauparlant broke bail conditions 'as if nothing happened': judge

In his reasons for sentencing, Skarica said Beauparlant grew up with a loving family and didn't experience poverty. Later in life, he made a "deliberate" choice to live a life of crime for "greed and status," the judge said. 

The court heard Beauparlant started drinking alcohol socially at 14 and experimented with Xanax and Percocet by age 16, but was able to control his drug use when he felt he was starting to lose control. He dropped out of high school in Grade 11.

Skarica also said despite working with his dad and doing drywalling, Beauparlant chose to deal drugs because he enjoyed the "fast and easy" lifestyle.

He said Beauparlant dealt drugs for roughly a year before Larmond's death and continued doing so afterward, using the Glock as a "tool" to keep dealing.

Skarica pointed out how in November 2020, months after Larmond's death, Brantford police arrested Beauparlant and caught him with nearly 40 grams of fentanyl, as well as hydromorphone and oxycodone.

Beauparlant was released on bail with conditions that he stayed home, didn't have drugs and only kept one cell phone.

In late January 2021, Hamilton police executed a search warrant and found he broke all of those rules "as if nothing happened," Skarica said.

Beauparlant was found with two phones, cocaine, codeine, a large knife, a ballistics vest, ammunition, drug paraphernalia and roughly $22,000 in cash.

Beauparlant spared more jail time from botched sentencing

Skarica said in August 2022, Beauparlant was sentenced to over five years in jail related to the charges by Brantford police and would have to serve over two-and-a-half years in jail when accounting for time he served ahead of his trial.

A month later, he pleaded guilty to the charges by Hamilton police and was sentenced to over four years — but there was an error in the sentencing because that judge didn't know about Beauparlant's charges by Brantford police, which meant he could serve this sentence at the same time as his other sentence, instead of serving them consecutively.

Skarica said the seven-year sentence he is imposing is not to make up for that mistake.

He said he didn't think Beauparlant would change his lifestyle, pointing out how he was caught drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana while in jail.

Skarica also noted how Larmond's death and Beauparlant's use of his illegal gun came at a time when gun crime was on the rise and sentencing is an important tool to help curb that crime. 

In 2016, Hamilton saw 23 shootings and 15 victims, Skarica said. In 2020, there were 51 shootings and 21 victims.

'You can be a drug trafficker and a good human:' defence

Crown attorney Amy Mountjoy and assistant Crown attorney Jody Ostapiw asked for a five-to-seven-year sentence. They argued if Beauparlant didn't bring the gun to the party, Larmond wouldn't have been shot.

Alison Craig, Beauparlant's lawyer, asked for a sentence between 18 months and two years, saying a longer sentence would be "crushing."

She said Beauparlant was young, had no criminal past before this and pointed to records that said he had a low risk of reoffending.

Craig also said Beauparlant was a good person but used drugs to cope with depression and anxiety when he was younger, which led him down a criminal path.

Reference letters from family and friends described him as a "loving, kind, caring and selfless person."

"You can be a drug trafficker and a good human," Craig said.

Skarica said he "rejects" the descriptors family and friends used, saying Beauparlant's "despicable and cowardly" choice to leave behind Larmond and continue to deal drugs showed otherwise.

After the hearing, Craig told CBC Hamilton she will "absolutely" appeal the sentence.

'A message has been sent loud and clear:' Larmond family

With Skarica's sentence, which must be served consecutive to his previous sentence, Beauparlant will be in jail until 2033.

Hamilton police Sgt. Steve Bereziuk told reporters the sentence shows a "strong stance against gun violence."

"My thoughts remain with the Larmond family and everyone there. This was an absolutely devastating incident," he said.

Larmond's family said in a written statement to media nothing can bring her back, but what they heard in court was "very powerful."

"Hopefully this results in stiffer penalties for possessing illegal firearms. With the sentence imposed today we believe a message has been sent out loud and clear," read the statement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bobby Hristova is a journalist with CBC Hamilton. He reports on all issues, but has a knack for stories that hold people accountable, stories that focus on social issues and investigative journalism. He previously worked for the National Post and CityNews in Toronto. You can contact him at bobby.hristova@cbc.ca.