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Keyler found guilty of manslaughter

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A Taylor man was given a lesser conviction of manslaughter by a B.C. Supreme Court Judge due to lack of evidence of intent.

Justice James Williams found John Keyler guilty of manslaughter on Tuesday after he was initially charged with the second-degree murder of his common-law partner Sarah Foord in 2020.

“Ultimately, I cannot discount the reasonable possibility that the defendant was experiencing effects akin to psychosis arising from his state of cocaine and alcohol intoxication,” said Williams.

“I, therefore, have a doubt that he understood the true circumstances as they existed at the time he stabbed Ms. Foord.”

Leading up to Foord’s death, the couple was living together at a mobile home located in Taylor.

At the time, Keyler was 35 and laid off from work in the oil and gas industry, while Foord, 38, was working at least part-time at a pub in Taylor.

Williams said, by his understanding, the couple was together for approximately 16 months.

During their relationship, both Keyler and Foord reportedly used a significant amount of drugs and alcohol, including the night and morning of Foord’s murder.

Prior to the stabbing, Keyler claimed he thought people were after him and that he was seeing things in the bathroom the couple was “hanging out” in.

Early in the morning of July 7th, 2020, at their home in Taylor, Keyler stabbed Foord with the blade of a multitool. Keyler said he remembers holding, hugging and stabbing her, “poking her in the back a few times.”

He then said he blacked out before waking up in the bathtub, half full of water, with Foord on the floor.

Keyler said he tried to wake her, but she didn’t respond. Afterwards, he went into the bedroom to change his clothes, smoke a cigarette and use more cocaine.

He reportedly came to realize she was dead and eventually grabbed a garbage can from outside to put her body in.

He testified that he wiped down the bathroom with towels, as there was a lot of blood on the walls, as well as a broken toilet seat and a rack that had been pulled down.

Keyler drove Foord’s body and other items from the residence to a gas well site near Buick Creek before burying her body in the bush and leaving the items in another bush nearby.

He then went to a small body of water and threw the multitool into the water.

After a number of days on the lower mainland, Keyler returned to Fort St. John, and on July 21st, 2020, Keyler confessed to RCMP members that he stabbed Foord, transported and buried her body. He directed police to where he had buried her.

Three days later, police unearthed and photographed Foord’s body before it was held for autopsy at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

Keyler was charged and arrested for the murder of Foord on July 25th and made another statement to police, again confessing to stabbing her, transporting her body and burying her.

Dr. Jason Doyle conducted the autopsy on July 29th, 2020, where he found Foord suffered approximately 50 stab wounds on her face, neck, chest, abdomen, right shoulder, hands, and arms.

He also noted blunt-force trauma evidenced by a black eye but no underlying fractures.

Doyle described most of the stab wounds as superficial and did not result in any significant underlying injury, barring two specific wounds.

Doyle found the cause of death to be multiple stab wounds, the stab wound to her right chest cavity and under her ninth rib as the most significant causes.

Additionally, the lab analysis of Foord’s blood found the presence of cocaine and opioid methadone.

Also on July 29th, divers searched the water where Keyler had thrown the multitool, which was then found to have Foord’s DNA on the tool.

According to Justice Williams, Keyler hid Foord’s death to buy time and accept what happened.

Keyler testified that he was very intoxicated at the time of the event; on a scale of 1 to 10, he rated himself at 9.5.

“I was so drunk and high, I did not know what was going on,” Keyler said.

Dr. Andrew Kolchak, whose specialty is forensic psychiatry, posited that four diagnoses likely apply to Keyler, including stimulant and alcohol use disorders and antisocial personality disorder.

Keyler has not been sentenced for his crimes of manslaughter and offering an indignity to human remains. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, there is no mandatory minimum sentence for manslaughter unless it is committed with a firearm.

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