28 July 2022

Prison sentence for Belconnen hotel shooter who told victim 'I'm going to f***ing kill you'

| Claire Fenwicke
AFP officers

Law enforcement at the scene of the Abode Hotel Belconnen shooting on 18 August 2021. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

An attempted car burglar who told his victim, “I’m going to f***ing kill you”, before shooting him in the leg, has been sentenced to more than four years behind bars by the ACT Supreme Court.

McKellar man Kasey Tyson King had previously pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated robbery over an incident in the Abode Hotel car park on Cameron Street in Belconnen on 18 August 2021.

He was arrested the next day and later charged over the shooting.

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According to agreed facts, at about 9:15 am on 18 August, the then-56-year-old victim, his carer and his dog went into the car park, where they saw Mr King near the carer’s gold Mazda 3.

As Mr King walked away, the victim and his carer noticed one of the car’s windows had been smashed. The victim called his dog to keep it away from the glass on the ground.

At this, Mr King turned and asked, “are you talking to me?” to which the victim responded, “you’ve broken into the car, mate”.

Mr King then pulled a handgun from his pants, which appeared to be a sawn-off .22 rifle, and pointed the cocked gun at the victim’s head. He threatened he would shoot the victim unless he handed over the car’s keys.

Mr King told the victim, “I’m going to f***ing kill you”, before pointing the gun down and shooting his victim in the leg. The bullet fractured the victim’s left proximal tibia, which left him in hospital for almost a month.

As the victim crawled away, Mr King continued to say he was going to kill him. The victim managed to pull himself into the Mazda 3 and called Triple Zero.

In his impact statement, the victim described his whole life as “significantly affected” and he was now anxious and paranoid. He said he felt unsafe at home and had “difficulty” going into Belconnen.

It was found Mr King was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of his offending. He also expressed remorse for his actions and sympathy for his victim.

A court report noted both his parents were alcoholics and he experienced neglect and abuse when he was a child. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and his schooling was “hampered by bad behaviour and learning difficulties”. Mr King also started using drugs at an “early age”.

The mother of Mr King’s three young children, with whom he was in an off-and-on again relationship, submitted a letter to the Supreme Court, which Justice Michael Elkaim said was a “moving and compelling” plea for mitigation.

The letter described Mr King’s crime as “simply an act formed out of a cocktail of substances and unhealed trauma responses.”

“As I’ve mentioned previously, Mr King grew up in a ‘criminal environment’. Some of his siblings had been charged for cases just as, if not more, serious in the past, and I’ve witnessed them completely turn their lives around and start working 9 to 5 jobs, staying substance-free,” the woman wrote.

“I believe means of rehabilitation is not beyond repair for Mr King and staying in jail for a maximum sentence would not be beneficial to him either.”

She argued it would be in Mr King’s best interests for his sentence to include rehabilitation, mental health evaluations and “working over the course of his sentence” to be integrated into society with “proper supports”.

“Multiple years in jail would ultimately strip this young man of what may be his last opportunity to maintain what innocence he has left before he gets stuck in an unforgiving cycle of drugs and incarceration,” she said.

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The Crown argued Mr King should face “at least six years imprisonment”, to which Justice Elkaim agreed. However, Mr King’s defence counsel said his “disability, disadvantage and relative youth” should also be taken into consideration.

Mr King pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated robbery on 21 April, which also entitled him to a discount on his sentence.

Justice Elkaim said the “dominating factor” when deciding the non-parole period were his rehabilitation prospects.

“[Mr King] needs to have a target to look forward to when he can continue with rehabilitation and devoting himself to society, and in particular his young family, in a productive manner,” he said.

Ultimately, 22-year-old King was sentenced to four years and eight months, with a non-parole period of two years and six months.

The sentence was backdated to 19 August 2021 as Mr King had already spent 337 days behind bars. He’ll be eligible for parole on 18 February 2024.

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