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Man sentenced to four years in 2020 beating death in downtown Campbell River

Justin William Arnet pleads guilty to manslaughter and unrelated robbery charge
Dean Dool was killed Oct. 15, 2020. On March 7, 2023, the man charged with causing his death was sentenced to four years in jail. Photo courtesy Betty-Jean Dziekan

Warning, graphic testimony follows…

Justin William Arnet has been sentenced to four years in jail for the beating death of Dean Dool outside of the downtown Campbell River Royal Bank in the fall of 2020.

In a March 7 hearing, Arnet was also sentenced for a robbery charge that earned him a six-month custodial sentence to be served consecutively with the manslaughter charge.

Arnet pleaded guilty to the manslaughter and robbery charges, both of which involved significant violence.

On Oct. 15, 2020, the 59-year-old Dool had been out drinking in downtown Campbell River, Judge Reginald Harris says in his reasons for sentence posted this week on the Provincial Court of B.C. website. Around 10:30 p.m., Dool was inside the foyer of the bank building drinking when he finished his beer and walked out onto 13th Avenue. That was where he encountered Arnet and two other people. An altercation occurred over a racist comment Arnet and an associate felt had been directed at them.

This led to a confrontation that was captured on CCTV, the judge said. Dool had produced a knife during the altercation which Arnet attempted to sweep aside several times. Arnet then punched Dool in the face and he fell to the ground. While on the ground, Arnet delivered several kicks and punches to Dool’s head area. Arnet stepped away and circled back and resumed punching and kicking Dool. He repeated this three times.

Eventually, Arnet and his associate moved the then-motionless Dool up against the bank wall, giving Dool further blows before leaving.

Dool briefly remained laying on the sidewalk then got to his feet but fell to the ground, striking his head. Shortly thereafter, emergency personnel responded and transported Dool to hospital where he passed away a few days later.

Arnet was arrested Jan. 28, 2021. During his interview by police, Arnet became emotional, expressed regret to Dool and his family and expressed feelings of “overwhelming guilt.”

Victims impact statements were received from Dool’s family, partner and close friend. All speak of Dool’s unique special qualities and his compassion. They also commented on how Dool’s death has created a huge void and much sadness, as well as shaken their sense of community and security.

In his sentencing for manslaughter, the judge said the four-year sentence is appropriate. It achieves the requisite degree of denunciation and deterrence, supports Arnet’s rehabilitation and balances the seriousness of the offence with the mitigating circumstances of Arnet’s challenging and difficult upbringing. The judge took into consideration Arnet’s Indigenous background and the loss of meaningful opportunities to connect with his culture and relations. In addition to suffering intergeneration trauma, he received little guidance while growing up and did not develop the skills typically acquired through a stable upbringing.

The judge also said Dool’s racial insult and wielding of a knife slightly mitigates the seriousness of Arnet’s offence.

The judge said imposing the eight-year sentence that the Crown was seeking would prolong Arnet’s separation from family and community and would likely extinguish his prospect of rehabilitation.

The robbery for which Arnet was also sentenced on March 7, occurred Jan. 23, 2021 when two women were sleeping outside the Campbell River Library in downtown Campbell River.

At approximately 6:30 a.m., Arnet and another male approached the two women as they slept. Arnet woke the victim while his associate stood nearby holding a baseball bat and occasionally used it to strike things on the ground, Judge Harris says.

CCTV captured Arnet making a punching motion towards the victim. Words were exchanged and another punch was delivered. Thereafter, Arnet took a cellphone and backpack containing a birth certificate and power pack belonging to the victim, struggled with her before leaving with the other male. Police were notified and they observed the victim had a bloody nose and lip.

Because Arnet had been in custody for 760 days before sentencing, he is credited with the equivalent of three years, one month and three weeks. That means he will actually spend 10 months, one week more in jail.

Arnet will also have to comply with some standard probation terms and conditions, a lifelong firearms and other weapons prohibitions as well as be required to surrender a DNA sample.


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Alistair Taylor

About the Author: Alistair Taylor

I have been editor of the Campbell River Mirror since 1989. Our team takes great pride in serving our community.
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