A man who once killed a fellow inmate in an MMA-style beating at a Maple Ridge prison was in Chilliwack provincial court on Nov. 13 for sentencing for another incident while incarcerated.
Alexander Dinu Tanasescu will not, however, be returning to jail as he is expected to receive a conditional sentence for uttering threats against a correctional officer in 2017 at Kent Institution, a maximum security prison in Agassiz.
Once a strapping 220-pound, 5’11” man with an extensive martial arts background, Tanasescu appeared in Chilliwack provincial court with serious mobility issues, now moving slowly with the help of a walker.
He was originally also charged with assault of a peace officer. He pleaded not guilty to that charge and Crown accepted his guilty plea to the uttering threats.
The incident from late 2017 occurred when Tananescu got into an altercation with a prison guard over an expired bag of potato chips from the prison canteen. He complained to a guard about the chips, and the guard told him to fill out a form.
What then transpired was captured on video as he swore at the guard and confronted him in an office. He did not strike the guard, but aggressively came at him while complaining, at one point stepping “directly into his face stopping short of touching him,” according to Crown counsel Anna Tosso.
The threat, while somewhat minor, was the most recent in a series of incidents of bad behaviour by Tananescu while incarcerated. He has also been convicted of assaulting a peace officer in the past.
But his most serious offence was nine years when, while at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre, he killed a fellow inmate. It was May 19, 2010 when Blair Thomas Cody arrived at the Maple Ridge prison for breaching probation on a drug possession charge. Cody called Tanasescu a “goof” and a fight ensued.
According to a report at the time, Tanasescu was captured on video landing a punch on Cody that knocked him to the ground. He then “stomped, kicked and punched” Cody’s head, landing 25 blows the head of the unconscious man.
The 36-year-old was found by guards in a pool of blood, barely breathing. After being rushed to hospital, he was soon moved to a hospice in Langley where he remained in a vegetative state until he died 10 months later.
Tanasescu was charged with second degree murder and later pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced to nine years in jail in 2013, which was reduced to more than five year when credited for time served. He had asked for even more credit given his time spent in segregation, but a judge denied that request.
Cody was the brother of then Langley school trustee Stacey Cody.
He was granted statutory release (two thirds of a sentence) in August 2016, but quickly violated his release conditions by using drugs on multiple occasions.
In court in Chilliwack on Nov. 13, Crown counsel Anna Tosso asked for a six- to nine-month conditional sentence that includes 24-hour house arrest, and a ban on him being within 250 metres of any residence, workplace or school of the correctional officer he threatened.
Defence counsel Stephanie Head asked for closer to three months, but Judge Wendy Young questioned both Crown and defence why electronic monitoring was not being considered.
Head said that he had housing in a ground floor unit of a house in North Vancouver and that he had concern that a technical suitability report needed might involve interviewing the landlord, something that could jeopardize his housing. Because of Tanasescu’s severe mobility issues, Crown did not push for the monitoring.
Judge Young, however, said that because of the number of hours he would be out of the house to walk his dog and attend to appointments, electronic monitoring seemed worth consideration.
“If he is out for chunks of time, no one is going to know where he is,” Young said. “The court must be concerned for public safety.”
In the end, Young adjourned the sentencing to consider ordering the technical suitability report for electronic monitoring, and an updated pre-sentence report.
Because of scheduling, the matter won’t likely be revisited until the new year.
– with files from The Maple Ridge News