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Teen pleads guilty in dragging death of gas attendant

A 17-year-old has pleaded guilty to manslaughter after a B.C. gas attendant was dragged to death under a car when he tried to stop a driver from stealing $12.30 worth of fuel.

The teenager, who cannot be named publicly because of his age, originally faced a second-degree murder charge in the death of Grant De Patie on March 7.

Grant De Patie, 24, died as he was dragged under a car for more than seven kilometres.

The teenager pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in youth court in New Westminster on Monday.

A sentencing hearing was expected to be held in six weeks.

De Patie, 24, was dragged for more than seven kilometres from the gas station where he worked in Maple Ridge, about 45 kilometres east of Vancouver.

Defence lawyer Phil Riddell said a psychological report would be part of the information considered by the sentencing judge when the teenager's punishment is set.

But De Patie's mother, Corrine De Patie, said she doesn't need any more information to denounce the charge of manslaughter.

"If you're going to purposely drive a car over another human being and then that person gets stuck under the vehicle and you knowingly drive around town with that person under the vehicle, is that not second-degree murder?" she said.

Crown lawyer Christopher McPherson told court that the teenager drank up to 40 cans of beer with friends before driving to the gas station.

Lawyers for the teen, who is a permanent ward of the Ministry of Children and Families, have said in the past that he was greatly upset by De Patie's death.

De Patie's mother said she hopes his death will ultimately result in new regulations governing the protection of gas station attendants on the night shift.


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