SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Two teenagers have been found guilty of second-degree murder in a vicious 2019 stabbing which left a South Surrey mechanic dead.
Paul Prestbakmo, 45, was found dead in a parking lot near the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre in the middle of the night in August, 2019. The two teens, who were 15 and 16 at the time, were charged about a month later.
Roxanne Charles is a family friend and has been going to court in a show of support.
“I thought it would feel a little bit more celebratory that we’re finding some closure, but still, it’s really emotional. It doesn’t take away the loss of him or the pain that everybody is still continuing to suffer without him,” she said.
She hopes this conviction brings the Prestbakmo family some peace, and wants to remember Paul for his kindness.
“He never had a reason or need to be violent. He always kind of defused situations with humour. It’s just really heartbreaking that this could happen to him in a parking lot that he’s walked through his entire life without fear,” she said.
Charles however expressed disappointment that the two teens, who can’t be named due to their ages, were acquitted in connection with an assault which left a White Rock senior with severe injuries.
Semiahmoo Chief Harley Chappell says while Prestbakmo did not live on the reserve, he and his family has always been close with the community.
“It was a real shock and travesty when we heard of Paul’s murder,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, especially two young people being found guilty of such charge … My thoughts and prayers are out to everybody involved.”
Chappell remembers Prestbakmo as a man who always had a smile on his face.
“He’s always one of the guys that wanted to cheer everybody up and make everybody happy,” he said.
Chappell hopes the family can begin to heal.