By Kristian Rasmussen,
Two valley men have each been found guilty of one count of assault causing bodily harm, after a 2010 altercation at the Columbia Inn in Canal Flats led to an early morning beating. The men appeared in Invermere Provincial Court on June 20th, in front of the Honourable Judge William G. Sheard.
The court heard that Michael Krebs, 50, and David Burgoyne, 47, attacked 20-year-old Canal Flats local, Justin Gertner, outside his home August 14th, 2010, after they believed that Mr. Gertner assaulted Mr. Krebs and smashed his truck window earlier that evening.
According to their testimonies, Mr. Burgoyne and Mr. Gertner got into a heated argument on the phone over a personal matter one year prior to the alleged altercation. A year later tensions between the two unfolded when the men saw each other at the Columbia Inn (now O’Henry’s Saloon).
The court heard that in August 2010, Mr. Burgoyne was at the bar with his friend, Mr. Krebs, when he confronted Mr. Gertner about his role in the 2009 phone call. The two began screaming at each other, and Mr. Gertner then asked the bartender, “Am I going to get barred if I hit him?”
The bartender told both men that they would be banned for fighting. Mr. Krebs then bought Mr. Gertner a beer to further diffuse the situation.
Mr. Krebs later left the bar in a 1998 Ford F150, almost identical to one owned by his friend, Mr. Burgoyne, who had been fighting with Mr. Gertner. Stopping at a yield sign down the street from the Inn, Mr. Krebs was suddenly met with a flurry of broken glass.
“I look to the left and to the right,” Mr. Krebs told the court. “Suddenly my window is smashed and my door’s flung upon and I get punched in the face.”
Despite Mr. Krebs’ claim that he was assaulted during the truck vandalism, Cst. Chris Sheppard, who attended the incident, told court that he did not not notice any marks or bruising anywhere on Mr. Krebs when he attended the scene.
The vandalism to his truck also occurred so quickly that he was unable to accurately identify who, or how many, his assailants were, Mr. Krebs told valley RCMP, in a recorded phone conversation played in court. Despite the lack of information, Mr. Krebs said during the recorded exchange that he believed Mr. Gertner was responsible for the damages to his vehicle and that he would be getting revenge.
“They are going to be suffering from baseball bat wounds and possibly shotgun wounds,” Mr. Krebs was recorded saying.
Mr. Gertner denied any involvement with the smashing of Mr. Krebs’ truck window and said that he was completely unaware that the event had taken place that evening.
After the phone conversation with valley RCMP, Mr. Krebs left a message on Mr. Gertner’s family answering machine. “Your son owes me a window that he smashed out of my truck,” Mr. Krebs was recorded saying, before giving his phone number and finishing the call with, “Otherwise it will be 911.”
Mr. Krebs then went to collect Mr. Burgoyne and confront Mr. Gertner about the incident. The two men picked up a third friend and headed out to the J2 ranch, where Mr. Gertner worked and lived.
When they arrived, Mr. Krebs struck Mr. Gertner in the face and knocked him to the ground. Mr. Burgoyne then held Mr. Gertner down on the ground, while Mr. Krebs searched the area for anyone else he believed to be involved in the previous attack. Mr. Gertner tried to get up and was punched and kicked multiple times in the process.
Mr. Gertner told the court that after the incident he lost his job at the J2 Ranch because of a shoulder injury sustained during the attack that hindered his ability to complete the heavy lifting required.
Judge Sheard found Mr. Burgoyne and Mr. Krebs guilty of one count each of assault causing bodily harm. Two original charges of assault with a weapon were dismissed, due to lack of evidence. The men will be sentenced September 10th.