WARNING: This article contains graphic details about a murder.
A Nanaimo man is facing a life sentence for the grisly murder of Emily Caruana as well as the aggravated assault of Justin Booth and John Caruana back in 2019.
Details of the case came to light Monday during the Crown’s sentencing submission and victim impact statements. Family members are waiting for the judge’s sentencing decision to determine parole eligibility. Second-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for at least 10 years.
Alan Charles Chapman stabbed Caruana to death while she lay in her bed at her grandmother’s home in Brentwood Bay on May 10, 2019, according to the Crown, also stabbing Justin Booth and John Caruana, leaving both with serious injuries.
Family members read out tearful victim impact statements, next to a photo of Caruana that had been taken on a family outing at the Royal B.C. Museum just 12 hours prior to her murder.
“She died full of dreams,” said Christine Ottewell, Caruana’s aunt. “She was only 20 years old. She went to spend the night at her Nana’s house and is never coming home.”
Ottewell said Caruana had been set to graduate college and enrol in university in the coming months in hopes of becoming a teacher and moving to the east coast with Booth.
“I hope one day I may be able to look back on her life and reflect on the fact that she lived and not just how she died. We are shattered by the actions of this man. There is no sentence that will ever come close to justice for me or my family. The debt that is owed for taking her life is simply something that can never be repaid.”
Chapman had travelled from Nanaimo to Central Saanich in order to confront another person – who cannot be identified due to a publication ban – after sexual assault accusations had been made against him.
He broke into the Central Saanich home where Caruana’s grandmother lived and where the three victims were visiting.
Witnesses testified to hearing glass breaking and saw Chapman storming up the stairs. They say Chapman was ranting incomprehensibly, Chapman later telling police he’d consumed crack cocaine and nitrous oxide on the day of the murder.
Chapman went into the kitchen and grabbed a knife, while Caruana’s grandmother ran downstairs and out of the house to call the police. John Caruana tried to stop Chapman from entering a bedroom where Caruana and Booth had locked the door and were hiding. Chapman turned on John and stabbed him in the neck, then as John turned away Chapman stabbed him again in the back. Chapman left John bleeding outside of the bedroom. Caruana needed to be resuscitated at the scene and required surgery to remove a kidney after the attack, spending 11 days in hospital.
Chapman then broke into the bedroom where Booth and Caruana were hiding. Chapman first attacked Booth, stabbing him multiple times in the head, chest and hands, leaving his interior jugular almost entirely severed and requiring multiple surgeries and a “massive transfusion” due to lost blood. Chapman then turned on Caruana, stabbing her repeatedly while believing her to be somebody else.
In his victim impact statement, Booth described it as a case of mistaken identity.
When emergency services arrived they tried to detect vital signs from Caruana but pronounced her dead at the scene
Prior to their arrival, Chapman fled the scene in his white Chevrolet Malibu, driving up the Malahat towards Nanaimo. Duncan and Shawnigan Lake RCMP had been warned and positioned themselves along the highway, pursuing Chapman as he attempted to flee police, reaching speeds of 160 km/h, eventually bringing him to a stop using a spike strip and arresting him without further incident. Police found Chapman still in the bloody clothes he’d worn to kill Caruana, with a number of nitrous oxide cartridges in the car.
Chapman had initially been charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated assault at a hearing in August.
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