Man convicted in Vernon manslaughter case now accused of aggravated assault

The man who pleaded guilty in a Vernon manslaughter case is now accused of aggravated assault in Alberta after skipping out on his day parole earlier this year.

Tal Kalum La Riviere, 32, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2015 beating death of Jason Hardy, 42.

Hardy was found dead in Vernon’s Polson Park in August 2015.

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Parole board documents show that Hardy was beaten to death after La Riviere, Hardy and two others got into an argument “over money related to a drug transaction.”

Last year, La Riviere was granted day parole, however shortly before the six-month day parole period was set to wrap up, police say he went “unlawfully at large” from his halfway house in Prince George.

A Canada-wide warrant was issued for his arrest on Feb. 2, and he was taken into custody more than two weeks later on Geb. 18 in Grande Prairie, Alta., after police made a public appeal for information.

Now, a recent parole board decision has revealed that La Riviere is accused of aggravated assault after he allegedly cut someone on the face and neck at an Edmonton house party while he was unaccounted for in early February.

The alleged victim’s injuries are considered non-life-threatening.

La Riviere has pleaded not guilty to the aggravated assault charge.

A parole board decision said that before he went unlawfully at large, La Riviere’s mental health was deteriorating but that the first five months of his day parole were “fairly successful.”

The report also shed more light on what allegedly happened during the time he was not in custody.

The parole board said La Riviere claimed he was stressed out and had gone to the hospital but couldn’t be seen by doctors.

The board added that La Riviere drove with no particular destination in mind and ended up in another province, that his car was stolen but he couldn’t report it as he was at large and that he was trying to go back to his home province when he was arrested.

The parole board decision also noted that, at one point, La Riviere was confused about when his day parole ended and believed it was already complete.

The parole board formally revoked La Riviere’s day parole at the end of May, a privilege that had already been suspended.

In its decision, the parole board said it now has “serious concerns” about the risk La Riviere poses to the general public.

The decision was a contrast to last year’s parole board decision to grant him day parole, which listed La Riviere’s recent sobriety, his attendance at prison programs, his good behaviour since the beginning of his sentence, his motivation not to commit further crimes and his “well-structured” release plan as reasons for allowing La Riviere out on day parole.

The aggravated assault charge is scheduled to go to trial in January 2020.

—With files from Kelly Hayes

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