Calgary man who hit roommate in the head during fight guilty of manslaughter, judge rules

Kevin Allen Honish was killed in July 2022. His former roommate was convicted of manslaughter on Thursday.  (dignitymemorial.com - image credit)
Kevin Allen Honish was killed in July 2022. His former roommate was convicted of manslaughter on Thursday. (dignitymemorial.com - image credit)

There were wails and tears in a Calgary courtroom as Collin Oxtoby was convicted of manslaughter in the beating death of his former roommate Kevin Honish.

Oxtoby, 50, and Honish, 55, shared a home in the southeast community of Albert Park in July 2022.

Following a trial in March, Court of King's Bench Justice Michele Hollins ruled Thursday that Oxtoby hit the victim in the head repeatedly with significant force.

After the two men fought, the victim, along with his girlfriend, walked to a friend's house, where he collapsed into unconsciousness. He died eight days later in hospital.

'A reasonable person'

In his interview with police, Oxtoby expressed that he did not believe he caused the fatal injuries because Honish walked out of the house on his own accord and did not seem seriously injured.

"It seems genuinely incongruous to the accused that the victim could get up and walk out of the Albert Park house and end up dead a week later at his hand," said Hollins.

But the judge noted that a "reasonable person" should anticipate that delivering multiple, forceful blows to another person's head "would cause bodily harm that would interfere with the health and comfort of that person."

"A reasonable person might not expect death to result, but again, that is not the test," said Hollins.

'We've been friends for so long'

Two women who were in the courtroom to support Oxtoby broke down as Hollins convicted the accused.

Oxtoby began crying, shaking his head and then held his face in his hands, sobbing.

During the trial, court heard that on the night of June 7, 2022, Honish and Oxtoby got into a fight.

The victim's girlfriend, Juliana Ballantyne, testified that she heard Oxtoby accuse Honish of stealing his tools.

She heard Honish reply, "I would never steal from you."

As the yelling got louder, she testified that she heard Honish yell, "stop, we've been friends for so long."

Victim walked away

Ballantyne testified that when she got to the living room, Honish had blood running down his face and was holding a towel to his injured head.

Earlier in the trial, prosecutor Gord Haight told the judge that Oxtoby is believed to have used a hammer in his attack on Honish.

After the beating, Honish kicked Oxtoby out of the house, so the victim and Ballantyne walked to a friend's house, where the girlfriend called 911.

By that time, the victim was largely incoherent and was unable to tell first responders what happened.

Brain hemorrhage

He then lapsed into unconsciousness and was taken to hospital.

Medical staff determined Honish was suffering from a brain hemorrhage. Despite surgery, he never regained consciousness and died about a week later.

Defence lawyer Jim Lutz argued the injuries suffered by Honish in the fight were minor and that he was "fine" when he left the Albert Park house.

He said that if Honish succumbed to a fatal brain bleed, "something else must have happened, most likely the victim falling down."

Hollins will hear sentencing submissions from Lutz and Haight later this summer.