Man succumbs to Maple Ridge prison beating

Blair Cody died on Sunday after 10 months in a coma

Langley school trustee Stacey Cody with a picture of her brother Blair

Langley school trustee Stacey Cody with a picture of her brother Blair

A man beaten by another inside a Maple Ridge prison died Sunday at a hospice where he spent nearly 10 months in a coma, brain-dead and barely alive.

Blair Cody was attacked on May 19, 2010 in a weight room at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre by Alexander Dinu Tanasescu, who was charged last year with attempted murder.

According to an internal investigation report from the 256th Street prison, Tanasescu was allegedly captured on video landing a punch that knocked Cody to the floor.

Tanasescu then “stomped, kicked and punched” his head. He was seen leaving twice only to return seconds later and continue the assault, landing blows to Cody’s head 25 times.

A minute after the assault began, guards found 36-year-old Cody unconscious in a pool of blood. He could barely breathe, according to the report.

Paramedics were called and Cody was rushed via air ambulance to Royal Columbia Hospital.

He was eventually transferred to the Langley Hospice, where he remained in a vegetative state until Sunday.

He died surrounded by his sister, brother, brother-in-law and niece.

Ridge Meadows RCMP anticipate that Crown will explore more serious charges against Tanasescu before he is back in court in September.

“We have been involved in this investigation from the start,” said Cpl. Alanna Dunlop.

“With the matter going before the courts, I will not comment on the details. Crown will be reviewing their case to determine if there will be any additional charges or any upgrades to existing charges. This process may take several weeks and will be at the Crown’s discretion.”

Cody’s death ended a 10-month ordeal for his family. His older sister, Stacey Cody, a Langley school trustee, believes he is finally at peace.

“Nobody wants to live in that kind of state. The brain injury was so severe. There was no chance of recovery,” she said. “He was a good man and I miss him terribly.”

She misses him so much, she wears her brother’s cologne.

Much as he was loved, especially by his older sister and their older brother, he went down a path that led to drugs and crime.

Released after being imprisoned for drug possession, he was back before a judge for breaching the terms of his probation. On May 18, 2010, a judge gave him a couple more months behind bars. He had been at Fraser regional for a few hours when he was attacked by a complete stranger.

Stacey Cody isn’t ready to forgive the man charged in connection with her brother’s death, but isn’t out for revenge either. She doesn’t want Tanasescu to spend the rest of his life in prison.

“Putting someone in jail for life is not going to bring back my brother. My heart goes out to his family and what they must be feeling,” she added. “That doesn’t mean I don’t think he should pay a penalty.”

– with files from the Langley Times


The accused

Alexander Dinu Tanasescu, 28, remains in custody.

When he attacked Blair Cody, he was serving a sentence of two years less a day for breaking into a Kelowna electronics store and stealing a 55-inch plasma TV, laptop computer and monitor.

He gained notoriety in 2009 after surveillance footage of the crime was released by the owner of Starwatch Audio Video, showing Tanasescu swinging from a ceiling-mounted video projector.

Police dubbed him Spiderthief.