NEWS

Chris Cornell gets 11 years for attempted murder of Yukon officers

11/04/2014 07:10 EST | Updated 01/04/2015 05:59 EST
A Yukon man has been sentenced to another eight years in jail and a further 10 years under supervision, following a violent robbery three years ago that included a high speed chase up the Alaska Highway and shots fired at the officers in pursuit.

Chris Cornell, 33, was convicted last October of attempting to murder RCMP Cpl. Kim MacKellar and Deputy Conservation Officer Shane Oakley. One of the officers, Cpl. MacKellar, was seriously injured.

Cornell had agreed to a plea bargain sentence of 11 and half years. Defence and prosecution lawyers also agreed Cornell deserved a long term offender designation.

At a sentencing hearing in Whitehorse yesterday, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower  ruled that Cornell should be  supervised for 10 years following his prison sentence and parole.

It's the maximum a person deemed a long term offender can be supervised. Gower says it can reduced if Cornell's behaviour after his release warrants that.

Mayhem at Madley’s General Store

In September of 2011, Cornell and his then-girlfriend, Jessica Johnson, robbed Madley's General Store in Haines Junction, Yukon, a community of fewer than 600 people, after assaulting and pepper-spraying a night worker.

When police pursued their high speed getaway car up the highway, they shot out the cruiser windshield, threatening the lives of both driver and passenger. The bullet shattered a satellite radio on the patrol car's dash spraying Cpl. MacKellar's face and upper body with glass, metal and plastic fragments.

He was taken to hospital Vancouver where he underwent two surgeries and a third procedure to repair an eye.

At trial, Oakley testified that the suspects threw a chainsaw and a large piece of deer meat onto the highway to try and slow the police down.

Cornell and Johnson crashed the stolen vehicle and were arrested a few hours later by emergency responders from Whitehorse.

Johnson, who was 21 at the time and says she was so high she remembers little, was sentenced to five years last December for her role in the incident.

Prior convictions

Psychiatric reports say Cornell needs intensive anti-violence and drug abuse programming available in federal penitentiaries. He began using drugs on a daily basis at 10 years old and has been addicted to them ever since. He'd also been convicted of multiple crimes prior to the Haines Junction incidents, including armed robbery and aggravated assault.

The reports also say Cornell is a bright man motivated to reform because, considering his lengthy criminal past, Cornell knows this is his last chance to go straight.

A forensic psychiatrist told the court last week that the Yukon criminal's best chance for reform is a long period of supervision after he's paroled.

With time served, Cornell has about eight years left on his prison sentence.

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