Lower Mainland man pleads guilty over 2012 death of Island man

Channon Paul Coulter has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Port Alberni man

Channon Paul Coulter, 47, of Mission, BC has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2012 death of a 75-year-old Port Alberni man.

Mervin Hankins of Port Alberni was found dead in his home in the 3500-block of Fourth Avenue on Jan. 13, 2012. A relative discovered his body. “His son-in-law discovered him unresponsive and lying on his living room floor,” then-Port Alberni RCMP Inspector Mac Richards said in 2016.

“Port Alberni RCMP responded and in speaking with Mervin’s son-in-law, noted there to be a number of items missing from his residence. Early on, investigators believed that Mervin was killed during a break-and-enter.”

Port Alberni RCMP, with the aid of the E-Division Major Crime Unit, investigated the murder over the next four years, Richards said.

“It’s hard to know where to begin to describe the impact that my father’s death has had on myself and our entire family. It has been over four long years since my father was taken from us and not a day goes by that we don’t think of him,” Mervin’s son Joseph Hankins said in 2016.

“My father was a retired veteran with the Royal Canadian Navy and was 75 years old when he was taken from us. He left behind a large family and missed out on the opportunity to see his grandchildren grow up. His murder has deeply impacted us all, including his daughter who also passed away a short time later.”

Coulter was identified early on in the RCMP’s investigation as a suspect, but was not arrested and charged in relation to Hankins’ death until February 2016.

On Nov. 22, 2017, Coulter was in Supreme Court in Nanaimo on the matter when he entered a plea of guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 15 years less credit for time served and given a lifetime firearms prohibition.


—With files from Katya Slepian, Black Press

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