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Killer gets 10 years in jail for shotgun death

James Garthwaite pled guilty to manslaughter earlier this year
2018-10-09 Garthwaite JO-001
Some of Dana Camber's family members left court on Tuesday solemn after her killer, James Garthwaite, was sentenced to 10 years in jail minus time served. Jessica Owen/OrilliaMatters

James Garthwaite was sentenced on Tuesday afternoon to 10 years in jail, less time served after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of Dana Camber.

Garthwaite was also ordered to submit to a DNA order, a non-communication order, a forfeiting order for firearms and is prohibited from owning weapons for life. He also must pay a victim surcharge of $200.

After the sentence, Dana Camber’s family was solemn.

“She was trying to protect those people,” said Theresa Camber, Dana’s mother, after court. “She was innocent in all of this. I’m not the judge. He’ll serve his time and hopefully he’ll get to be a better person.”

In her ruling, Justice Michelle Fuerst pointed to many highly aggravating factors that influenced her decision, including that Garthwaite planned to rob his drug dealer, that he intended to do so with a sawed-off shotgun he knew was loaded, that Garthwaite had chased his drug dealer through a hallway in an apartment building putting other residents in danger and that Garthwaite had tried to invade the home of Dana Camber.

She also noted that Garthwaite and Dana Camber were not known to each other prior to this incident.

“After the shooting, Mr. Garthwaite also fled back to Toronto... and took steps to hide the shotgun so it would not be recovered,” she said. “His conduct at the time of this offence involved using drugs, selling drugs, buying drugs and carrying a prohibited weapon and ammunition for it. He paid no heed to restrictions imposed on him to ensure his good behaviour.”

“It appears his criminality is related to a drug problem that remains unacknowledged and unaddressed,” said Fuerst.

On the evening of March 14, 2017, Garthwaite, Greg Keays and David Glover drove from Toronto to Barrie to buy drugs. Once in Barrie, Garthwaite planned to visit his drug dealer to demand his money back due to being given bath salts when he had paid for Fentanyl. Garthwaite’s drug dealer was staying at Dana Camber’s apartment.

He tucked a sawed-off shotgun into his jeans and approached the apartment building on Kozlov Street at about 2:28 a.m.

Assistant Crown attorney Bhavna Bhangu outlined the rest of the night’s events in court during sentencing submissions in August.

“Somewhere along the way, according to Keays, there’s a chase in the hall (of the apartment building). Somewhere along the way, Garthwaite reaches into his pants and gets the sawed-off gun out. And somewhere along the way, he manages to make it go off, at the door of Dana Camber, which is where her body was found,” said Bhangu.

Bhangu indicated in her statements that Camber was trying to close the door to her apartment when she was shot in the abdomen.

Keays and Glover both pled guilty back in June to accessory after the fact, and received a sentence of two years probation and time served.

The Barrie police homicide unit arrested and charged the three men in the death of Camber in April 2017. An autopsy determined that the 50-year-old grandmother died of the shotgun wound to the abdomen.