Peter Khill appealing sentence, seeking bail release during appeal process
HAMILTON — Peter Khill, the man who shot and killed Six Nations man Jonathan Styres, has been sentenced to 8 years in prison — and Khill’s lawyers say he will now appeal that sentence and ask to be released on bail until that appeal can be heard.
The decision came early Tuesday morning, after a 7 year struggle for Styres’ family to see Ontario’s justice system hold Khill accountable for killing Jonathan.
Khill shot and killed Styres in February 216 during a truck break-in near Binbrook. The minimum sentence was 4 years in prison for manslaughter. The Crown was seeking a sentence of 8-12 years. The maximum sentence for manslaughter in Ontario is life in prison.
This was the third trial in the case. Khill was found guilty of manslaughter in December 2022 by a jury after a previous trial in 2018 was declared a mistrial. He has been out on bail since the shooting
On Tuesday, Khill’s family and supporters were silent as they left the courtroom.
Styres family and supporters were also present and silent, offering quiet hugs to one another.
Superior Court Justice Andrew Goodman issued a 54 page decision Tuesday, and determined that the sentence should be double the four years being sought by Khill’s defence team.
In his decision, Goodman said that Khill had other options as alternatives to shooting to kill Styres, and that he failed to utilize those methods. The judge said the sentence must serve as a deterrent to other citizens from taking the law into their own hands.
“Civilians should not take matters into their own hands. Responding with lethal force should only be as a last resort and only in a limited fashion.”
Lindsay Hill, partner to Styres, spoke after the sentence was issued and said it offered little comfort.
“I’m thankful it wasn’t four years. Nothing, no amount of time, will change anything but it is still disappointing,” said Hill. “To my understanding they’re appealing so this is not anywhere near from over. If he had true remorse he would have taken the accountability after all these years and start to go in for his sentence.”
“It was hard to come here today knowing that after all this — it’s not over. So I would just point to – that there’s major reform needed in this system,” said Hill.
“There’s no reason why we had to go through all those victim impact statements and do that when there was still a chance of an appeal. It makes no sense why the sentence can’t come after when you know there isn’t going to be an appeal. We have to work within the system, it is what it is. It’s frustrating. To me its not efficient and it doesn’t have good common sense layout.”
Six Nations Elected Chief Mark Hill was present to support Lindsay and the Styres family and spoke on behalf of the elected council. Chief Hill told reporters that a lot of the content they were asked to submit to the courts during the victim impact community statements were redacted by the courts.
“When you have such a process of court systems asking specifics about the impacts — you would think that you could speak freely and open. I definitely was truthful in what that impact looked like from a perspective of leadership and what we see on a daily basis in our community.”
Chief Hill says the council’s participation and advocacy for justice for Styres and his surviving family is just a start to the wider justice reform advocacy the elected council needs to tackle along with other First Nations in Canada.
“I think that is something where we need cases like this, examples like this, people like Lindsay and the Styres family to be able to analyze and reflect what they’ve been through on this case so that will help us to politically advocate on some of the pieces. We know its not going to happen overnight and we know its a big undertaking. There’s got to be steps and I think these are the steps we have to take to further advocate for the bigger picture of what does it mean to see justice reform.”
Styres partner said the emotional strain of coming to court, time and time again, are worse once the days are done.
“It makes you feel sick to your stomach, tired, exhausted. Just like, very hurt,” said Hill.
Hill said that Styres mother passed away earlier this year, just after the victim impact statements were read in court. “Hopefully maybe she can reunite with him,” said Hill.
There is currently an ongoing civil trial against Khill to recover financial losses impacting Styres’ surviving family.
Khill’s family left the court quietly without issuing a public statement. Lawyers for Khill said that he was being held in custody and would be travelling to a bail hearing where he would be seeking release on bail until an appeal on Tuesday’s sentence can be heard.