A memorial was set up on Baker Street after the death of Matt Reeder in June 2018. Miles Halverson pled guilty to Reeder’s death on Wednesday. Photo: Tyler Harper

Nelson man pleads guilty in assault that killed man sitting on sidewalk

Miles Halverson is guilty of manslaughter in the June 2018 death of Matt Reeder

The man who killed Matt Reeder on Baker Street last year has pled guilty to manslaughter.

Miles Halverson assaulted Reeder on June 5, 2018 while the 45 year old was sitting on the sidewalk of the 600 block of Baker in the middle of the day. Reeder was pronounced dead a day later.

Halverson pled guilty in the Supreme Court of B.C. in Nelson on Wednesday, but did not make any further statements.

Blair Suffredine, the defence lawyer for Halverson, said his client agreed he was responsible for the assault, if not the death, of Reeder.

“He accepts that he hit Mr. Reeder. It’s an assault and could have caused bodily harm, and that’s the test for if manslaughter results. If you committed an unlawful act that might have hurt somebody, you’re liable,” said Suffredine.

Halverson’s next hearing will be Oct. 15 to fix a date for witness testimony and sentencing.

Reeder moved to Nelson in 2011 and was a familiar face within the city’s street community.

The nature of his death stunned local residents and became a political issue last year during the municipal election when since-elected councillor Cal Renwick said the incident showed a need for a panhandling bylaw in Nelson.

Reeder’s brother Ben told the Star he is satisfied there won’t be a trial.

“It’s a big relief that there’s not going to be a battle about facts, because the damage is done and it’s [nice that Halverson’s] not going to spend his efforts fighting this instead of acknowledging what he did and trying to get better as a human.”

Pleas typically don’t take 13 months after an arrest to enter.

Halverson was initially charged with aggravated assault, which was dropped in favour of manslaughter, and several hearings over the last year were deferred as lawyers waited on medical reports.

Ben Reeder said the long wait for Halverson’s case to move forward has been difficult on his family.

“For me personally, I was more concerned with figuring out how to grieve and move on myself.

“I am not one to lay blame and be angry. I’m kind of looking at the bigger picture of what’s done is done, and my hopes are for this guy to figure out his life and maybe get the counselling he needs so he doesn’t do this again.”

Related:

Matt Reeder remembered at memorial in Nelson



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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