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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Coroners jury classifies Tasered man's death as suicide

March 3, 2011
Kent Spencer, The Province

The death of Frank Jonathan Frechette, who died in 2008 after being Tasered by Langley RCMP, has been classified as a suicide by a B.C. Coroners jury in Burnaby.

The five-person jury, which was investigating Frechette’s death, found he had died after a massive blood loss from a (self-inflicted) stab wound.

It made no recommendations for future actions after releasing its findings Thursday.

Earlier, presiding coroner Lisa Graham reminded the jury that Frechette had “directed officers to shoot him” when he was confronted at his Langley home on Sept. 30, 2008.

Frechette, 49, died on Sept. 30, 2008, after a tumultuous morning in which he robbed a bank with a sawed-off shotgun, stabbed himself in the lung causing severe bleeding, and was Tasered twice by Langley RCMP in a confrontation at his Langley home, the inquest has been told.

He was pronounced dead at Langley Memorial Hospital.

Frechette’s sister Natalie Frenette told the inquest Thursday that her brother fell in with the wrong crowd about nine years prior to his death.

“He got in with the wrong group of friends,” Frenette, who lives in Quebec, told the court in a statement.

She said Frechette was asked “to be the brains” of a gang and plan robberies.

“They started doing harder and harder drugs,” she said.

“He went to jail for bank robberies, but he never killed anyone ... My mom never got over his death.”

Forensic pathologist Dr. David Charlesworth has testified that massive blood loss was the cause of death and cocaine was a contributing factor.

Outside court, Jody Pylypow, the estranged mother of Frechette’s two children, said she doesn’t believe it was necessary for police to Taser the naked and bleeding man.

“I understand police’s point of view that safety comes first, but that doesn’t mean you don’t help that person,” she said.

A publication ban has been placed on the name of the plainclothes officer who employed the Taser.

The coroners jury has been asked to classify Frechette’s death from among five categories: accidental, homicide, natural, suicide or undetermined.

It has been told its purpose is not to assign blame to any person or agency.

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