John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

A man found guilty of bludgeoning another man to death in south Nanaimo in 2017 was handed a six-year sentence, minus four years for time served.

John Albert Buchanan was charged with second-degree murder after Richard Sitar was found dead in his apartment near Nanaimo’s downtown in September 2017, but the dynamics between the two men were a consideration for Judge Robin Baird, who found Buchanan guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo in January.

Leanne Mascolo and Catherine Hagen, co-Crown counsel sought 6-8 years of jail time for Buchanan, while Michael Munro, defence, sought time served and three-year’s probation.

Buchanan was sentenced to six years and four months and will receive credit for four years and four months of time served. He will serve his sentence at a provincial corrections facility. He was also handed a lifetime weapons ban.

During the trial, Crown said Buchanan had gone to the apartment to pick up drugs previously purchased, but which Sitar had already consumed.

Evidence was presented depicting Sitar as someone who bullied and abused Buchanan, including a June 2017 incident in which Sitar pepper sprayed the accused at a McDonald’s restaurant on Nicol Street and a separate incident when Sitar threatened to kill Buchanan’s girlfriend while brandishing a gun.

Expert witnesses testified that a bat or a similar instrument was likely used to kill Sitar, with the coroner stating blunt force trauma was the cause of death. However, police were never able to recover any such item.

Also part of Crown’s case was testimony from someone familiar with Buchanan and whose identity is protected by a publication ban. The person said that Buchanan detailed the murder, including the use of a bat, which Buchanan said he subsequently bleached and buried.

Video evidence showed Buchanan entering, then leaving Sitar’s apartment the day of the incident.

Buchanan had been taken into custody when Baird handed down his verdict in January.

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