By Shurtz, Delon on April 29, 2020.
For 76-year-old Sharon of Lethbridge, May 22, 2019 was probably like any other day. She awoke, went about her morning routine, and then at noon drove to an appointment. She had no idea a man had entered her home the night before while she slept, and was still lurking in her basement when she left for her appointment.
It was also probably the last place Adam Hobkirk-Onate expected he would end up after taking a job as a dishwasher at a hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park only a few days earlier.
Hobkirk-Onate, who had just moved from Ontario, didn’t last long at his new job. He was fired on May 21 and got a ride to Lethbridge with a person he met while working in Waterton. He wanted to go to Calgary, but didn’t have any money and ended up sitting in a restaurant until he was kicked out.
Without any money, and no place to go, he got an idea.
“He thought that breaking into a residence was an option as a way to find a place to spend the night,” Crown prosecutor Michael Fox said Monday in Lethbridge provincial court, where Hobkirk-Onate pleaded guilty to charges of housebreaking with intent, aggravated assault and being disguised while committing an offence.
Hobkirk-Onate, 21, targeted a nearby adult condominium complex and chose a somewhat sheltered residence at the end of a cul-de-sac. He entered the home through an unlocked door, and while the elderly owner slept, he had a beer, some wine and a ham and cheese sandwich. He even cleaned up his mess so the owner wouldn’t know anyone had been in her kitchen.
Then he noticed something that gave him another idea.
“While he was in the kitchen, he found a calendar on (the owner’s) fridge, which indicated that she had an appointment the next day at 1400 hours,” Fox said. “The accused anticipated that he would have the place to himself when she went to her appointment.”
Hobkirk-Onate found some vodka, then hid in a closet in the basement the rest of the night. After the owner left for her appointment, he left his hiding place, accessed her internet, ate some food and drank more wine and vodka.
At 5 p.m. the owner returned home and Hobkirk-Onate returned to the basement where he hid for two hours before deciding to steal the owner’s car and drive to Calgary. He covered his face with a T-shirt, went upstairs and encountered the “scared and irate” owner.
“She asked who he was and what he was doing there,” Fox said. “The accused responded by punching her in the face, knocking her to the ground. He then got on top of her and continued to punch her five to eight times.”
The elderly woman tried to fight back, and even managed to scratch her attacker’s face, but he pinned her arms so he could freely punch her in the face.
Hobkirk-Onate took her car keys and went into the garage. He opened the garage door, but before he could get in the vehicle, the badly bleeding woman grabbed him. Hobkirk-Onate knocked her to the ground again and struck her several times in the head with the front tire of her bicycle.
Then he sped away in her vehicle, leaving his victim with a broken nose, eyes swollen shut, bruises and a fractured skull.
At about 10:40 p.m. a police officer dealing with an unrelated traffic stop saw the stolen vehicle drive by. He stopped the vehicle and arrested the suspect, who was only wearing a pair of jeans that were stained with his victim’s blood. During interviews with police he confessed to breaking into the woman’s home and beating her.
He also wrote her a letter, apologizing for the “cruel and heartless” attack.
“I want to let you know how disgusted I am with myself for doing this evil act,” Hobkirk-Onate wrote. “I can’t imagine what you are going through right now. All I can say now is (I) hope you are doing all right and that you are healing well emotionally and physically.”
Hobkirk-Onate was not sentenced during Monday’s court hearing, but Judge Kristin Ailsby ordered a pre-sentence report with a psychological component to provide some insight into Hobkirk-Onate’s actions and, as defence described it, his mental deficits.
Lethbridge lawyer Wade Hlady said his client suffers from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and the assessments will help determine Hobkirk-Onate’s moral culpability in relation to the incident.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for July 27.
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