P.A. man gets 4 years in prison for fatal hit and run
The healing process can finally begin
for the family of 14-year-old Montana Netmaker, who was struck and killed while
riding her bike in April of last year.
Leslie B. Samoleski, 44, was sentenced this morning to four years in a federal penitentiary, minus two months for time served in remand. He had pleaded guilty to charges of leaving the scene of an accident and two weapons offences. Upon his release, he will also be facing a three-year driving prohibition and will be unable to own any weapons, firearms or ammunitions for a period of 10 years.
It was emotional scene inside the courtroom with friends and family members on both sides taking up many of the seats.
“It’s never going to bring her back and we know that,” said Montana’s aunt, Jocelyn Schraeder, outside of the courthouse.
“Nothing (Samoleski) could have gotten could have reflected anything close to what we lost. We’re glad this part is over and we can finish or start to heal.”
Montana was riding her bike with friends on Central Avenue near the intersection to Southwood Drive around 8:30 p.m. on April 11, 2011 when the Samoleski struck her with his vehicle and failed to stop. Witnesses noted that his brake lights flashed momentarily, but he continued driving.
At 9:17 p.m. that night, a weapons call was received by Prince Albert Police. It was from Samoleski’s residence which was a block away from where the incident occurred and the call was from his wife. Soon thereafter, a SWAT team was called in and the entire area was taped off with the accused barricaded in his home.
Samoleski spoke with police on a number of occasions throughout the standoff, and indicated that he had “hit someone” and that “someone is going to die here and it won’t be me.”
During one of the conversations, he told police that he was fully prepared to die and described how he had a rifle and that he had a “bead on an officer’s head”, referring to one of the police officers in the neighborhood.
Justice Stan Loewen used that example as one of the aggravating factors he took into consideration when he made his decision.
“These charges, as I said earlier, were aggravating in the extreme, lasted many house, and the point that I found particularly chilling was when the accused said to the Police that he had an officer’s head in his sights,” wrote Loewen.
Crown Prosecutor John Morrall had sought a sentence of 3.5 years, along with several other conditions
“It was fairly close to what we wanted,” said Morrall after the sentence had been handed down.
“One of the things I was concerned about was the driving prohibition because certainly this type of behavior, with what he did, I don’t think he should be driving if that’s how he acts to his fellow citizen.”
Morrall also noted how the Court of Appeal had recently laid down very strict guidelines for sentencing when it comes to motorists leaving the scene of an accident, something that was the basis of this particular incident.
“I think a sentence such as this, a penitentiary sentence for failing to stop and there has been a death, should certainly deter others from doing the same. It’s very important for people to stop when they’ve hit, injured or even caused an accident.”
Due to the fact that Samoleski is a former correctional officer, it is unknown at this time where or how he will be housed because of the possibility of increased security risks.