Two More Lives Ruined by Meth
Posted by Childress on May 31, 2006
Here's a shocking, but classic, good kid turned bad story — and not surprisingly, it all focuses around meth. From the Regina (Canada) Leader.
Drug addiction led a former high school athlete, volunteer and Big Brother into a terrible downward spiral that culminated in him setting fire to another man during a crystal meth-induced rage, a Regina Court of Queen's Bench judge heard Tuesday.
Justice Ellen Gunn said William Henry White, 23, had once been what every mother could hope for in a son: A bright, ambitious student who participated in numerous sports and was editor of his school paper before going on to join the Big Brother program to help youths in need. Court heard White was to begin training as a volunteer in the palliative care unit of a Saskatoon hospital, but drugs got in the way.
It started with cocaine in 2001, escalating to a crystal-meth addiction that remained with him until Sept. 21, 2005, when he doused Tommy Dykes, now 26, with gasoline and set fire to him at the door of the victim's Regina home.
White, who had no previous criminal record, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault Tuesday and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Crown prosecutor Constance Hottinger said the two men, each of whom used crystal meth, were involved in a conflict sometime on Sept. 20 at Dykes's home in the 2700 block of Argyle Street.
Following the altercation, White left with a friend. He returned just after midnight on Sept. 21, high on crystal meth and armed with gasoline he'd gotten from an acquaintance.
When Dykes answered the door, White immediately threw the gas on him, then used a lighter to set the man on fire. White fled, leaving a screaming Dykes and someone else at the house to try to put out the fire.
Neighbours who were awakened by the agonized screams called 9-1-1. Dykes's injuries were considered life-threatening and he spent several months in an Edmonton burn unit, undergoing numerous surgeries, including skin grafts, to treat the third-degree burns that covered more than half of his body.
"He will suffer permanently from these injuries …," said Hottinger in court. "He will be disfigured to some extent forever."
Defence lawyer Pat Reis outlined his client's past and the situation that led to the September incident while White and several supporters listened solemnly. Reis said White was concerned for the family he was staying with, worried that Dykes was planning on harming them.
At the time of the incident, White was heavily under the influence of crystal meth, said Reis, using as much as three to five grams per day.
Dykes' sentence is permanent disfigurement. White's is four years. It doesn't seem fair.