Eleven years for home invasion

A 24-year-old Yorkton man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for an October 2015 home invasion.

At a hearing in Yorkton Provincial Court January 19, Nathan Ortynsky pleaded guilty to one count of break and enter and committing an indictable offence, one count of wearing a disguise while committing an indictable offence, one count of unlawful confinement and one count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

In a joint submission from the Crown and defence, the Court heard that on the night of October 22, 2015, Ortynsky and another man forced their way into Keith and Bridgette Washenfelder’s home wearing masks. Prosecutor Andrew Wyatt said the couple’s hands were tied with plastic zip ties and that Ortynsky beat them with a piece of rebar. Keith was knocked unconscious. Both victims were later treated in hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

The men stole a large amount of cash and some old coins and bills and fled on foot.

In the ensuing investigation RCMP used the police dog service and turned up a balaclava alongside one of the collectible bills. They were able to obtain DNA from the mask and would later match it with Ortynsky. He was arrested September 22, 2016.

Ortynsky initially admitted to knowing about the incident, but tried to blame it on two other people. Ultimately, though, he confessed and gave up his alleged accomplice, 19-year-old Jessie McDowell. McDowell pleaded not guilty on January 23 and is scheduled to go to trial June 27.

Wyatt submitted victim impact statements noting that a year later, Bridgette barricades the doors and is still frightened by the doorbell. The prosecutor called the situation “every homeowner’s worst nightmare, especially elderly homeowners.”

Wyatt cited aggravating circumstances including Ortynsky’s initial denial of his involvement, an extensive criminal record and the seriousness of the offence in presenting the joint submission of a global sentence of 11 years on the break and enter, less time served of 216 days (144 days times 1.5 credit).

He received concurrent sentences of two years on the forcible confinement, and one year each on the weapon and disguise charges. He also pleaded guilty to a second break and enter from June 2016 for which he was sentenced to two years concurrent.

The defence, represented by Richard Yaholnitsky cited a psychiatric report that indicated Ortynsky has cognitive challenges and suffers from addictions and depression as well as exhibiting antisocial and borderline personality disorders.

Yaholnitsky said his client was going to do everything he could to address his psychiatric issues and learn a trade while in the federal system.

The accused himself addressed the court saying he was very sorry for his actions and apologizing directly to the Washenfelders.

Judge Patrick Reis accepted the joint submission calling the crime “extremely serious” and “incredible violence.” He admonished Ortynsky to take it seriously and take advantage of his time in prison to turn his life around.

Following the sentencing the Crown stayed proceedings on a number of other charges including two counts of assault with a weapon, and two counts of robbery.

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