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St. Albert man pleads guilty to choking friend unconscious

Keegan Ross, 18, received 12 months of probation for choking a friend unconscious.
St. Albert provincial court.

An 18-year-old St. Albert man pleaded guilty on Monday to assault for choking a friend so hard she passed out.

Last September, Keegan Ross and two friends, including the victim, were drinking at the victim’s house when an argument erupted. The victim’s grandfather was also in the house at the time.

The fight escalated until Ross hit the victim, climbed on top of her, wrapped his hands around her neck and strangled her until she started to seize and eventually passed out.

Ross continued to punch the victim and pull her hair, saying he “wanted to go home.” The grandfather, who witnessed the incident, had to pull Ross off the victim, court heard.

The Crown asked Justice Clifton Purvis for a 90-day conditional sentence order (house arrest) followed by 12 months of probation.

Ross’s lawyer argued Ross was a “youthful first offender” with no criminal convictions who acted spontaneously, showed remorse and was prepared to move in order to avoid contact with the victim. He argued Ross should not receive the conditional sentence order and instead receive only 12 months of probation.

“I just want to say that I’m sorry for what I did,” Ross told Purvis. “It was a big, big mistake.”

He said he is young, trying to get his life together, and would like to one day own a construction company.

In 2019, strangulation, choking and suffocation were added as an additional offence to Criminal Code Section 267, which covers assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm.

One reason for the change was that these behaviours indicate future risk of domestic violence and domestic homicide.

Purvis sided with Ross’s lawyer and sentenced Ross to 12 months of probation.

“Lots of folks I deal with make bad decisions but are not bad people,” he said. “I accept your remorse.”

He pointed to Ross’s youth and his lack of a criminal record, as well as the fact Ross pleaded guilty early on in the investigation as mitigating factors in the sentence. 

About the Author: Riley Tjosvold

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