A man with an extensive criminal record who “terrorized” his neighbours so badly they had to move away has been released from prison.
Erich Koenig pleaded guilty to one count of uttering threats, mischief under $5,000 and flight from police for two separate incidents.
He was sentenced Friday in Penticton court to a total of 165 days in prison, but was released because he’d already served the time.
Court heard that on Oct. 8, 2018, Koenig appeared on a neighbour’s property with rocks in his hands, threatening to kill them.
Koenig told the man he would kill him, and “rape his wife and daughter.”
When arrested, court heard, Koenig began kicking and damaging the back seat of the police vehicle for the duration of the ride to the Penticton RCMP detachment.
He was released on a promise to appear.
On March 17, 2019, court heard Koenig fled from police and drove over a spike belt until the vehicle stopped.
He was under a driving prohibition at the time, and was arrested and denied bail. He remained in prison since then.
During sentencing, court had to be adjourned for the afternoon after an outburst from Koenig, who denied the threats quoted by Crown counsel.
“That’s a lie!” shouted Koenig, who appeared by videoconference from the Okanagan Correctional Centre. “I didn’t say that! Let me speak for me!”
He then began shouting at Crown counsel Kurt Froehlich, saying Froehlich has been “dreaming this up for I don’t know how long.”
“I did my time!” he shouted, before the microphone was muted.
“This was sort of the last in a long series of incidents between Mr. Koenig and (his neighbours), ultimately resulting in them selling their home and moving to escape this ongoing conflict,” said Froehlich. “It clearly has had an emotional impact on them.”
Judge Michelle Daneliuk expressed concern for the mental health of Koenig, who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, fuelled by a crystal meth addiction in the last five years.
“He’s had various attempts at completing treatment in the community, which were partial completion of those treatment,” said Froehlich.
Most recently, he’s been diagnosed with colon cancer, court heard.
“The victims in that case suffered extensively, in my view,” said Daneliuk. “Not only emotionally, but also financially as a result of having the unhappy, bad luck to have chosen a residence that happened to be next to this individual.
“They feel they’ve been terrorized by Mr. Koenig, and I want them to understand I hear what they’re saying.”
Daneliuk agreed to the joint submission presented before her, sentencing Koenig to 165 days imprisonment, followed by probation.
Koenig will serve two years of probation and undergo any psychiatric treatment or counselling ordered by his probation officer. He has also been banned from driving for two years.