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Death of loved ones pushed man back into life of drugs and crime

Tyler John Figley will spend 541 days in jail for various offences, including a break and enter into an apartment building on Stadacona Street East
2019-03-15 Saskatchewan provincial court MG
Provincial Court of Saskatchewan.

The murder of a friend and the overdose death of his children’s mother pushed Tyler John Figley back into a life of crime and addictions after nearly a decade of sobriety.

Figley, 36, remained sober from 2010 to 2017, after racking up a criminal record from 2001 to 2010. However, once he began using drugs again, he engaged in a multi-community crime spree that spanned several years.

Appearing in Moose Jaw provincial court recently for sentencing, Figley pleaded guilty to: using counterfeit money, a break and enter, committing an offence with a weapon, a hit and run, twice possessing stolen items over $5,000, theft under $5,000, and two breaches.

As part of a joint submission, he will spend 729 days — or two years less a day — in jail. However, since he had already served 125 days in custody after his arrest on May 10, he was given credit for 188 days, which means he has 541 days left to serve.

An abandoned truck, a stolen car

On May 10 at 6:15 p.m., an off-duty Regina police officer saw Figley abandon a truck near Grand Coulee and walk east near the Regina bypass on Dewdney Avenue, Crown prosecutor Rob Parker said while reading the facts. The officer checked the vehicle’s VIN number and learned the red 2003 F250 pickup truck was stolen from Moose Jaw, while the plate was a fake.

The officer then arrested Figley and took him into custody.

A day earlier, on May 9 at 9 p.m., Figley bought $67.30 worth of gas from a Fas Gas station in Moose Jaw and left without paying.  

A month earlier on April 20, the Moose Jaw Police Service received a call at 5:30 p.m. about a stolen white 2010 Dodge Challenger, Parker continued. Figley had stolen the vehicle while supposedly testing it out since it was for sale.

A day later, Moose Jaw police found the stolen car with a fake licence plate. They used a spike belt to stop the vehicle; this was successful, but Figley and a woman fled on foot. A short time later, police found and arrested them.

Breaking into an apartment

On Jan. 19 in Moose Jaw, police were called to an apartment building on Stadacona Street East about a break and enter, Parker said. Figley entered the building using a tire iron accompanied by a co-accused. Once inside, they accosted the resident of a suite while looking for drugs; a cellphone and wallet were stolen.

Figley and his accomplice left in a red Dodge truck, while police eventually found and pursued them. Figley crashed into another vehicle and then fled on foot, so police called in the K-9 unit. The police found Figley on Caribou Street West, where they found on him a mace — a prohibited weapon with a spiked ball on the end.   

A counterfeit bill

Figley entered the Co-op gas station in the Village of Tompkins near Swift Current on March 3, 2018 and bought a chocolate bar with a United States $20 bill before leaving, Parker said. Co-op staff later determined the bill was counterfeit.

Defence perspective

Figley was sober from 2010 to 2017 and held a job, said Legal Aid lawyer Suzanne Jeanson. However, he started using crystal meth after his friend was murdered in 2017. Moreover, the mother of his children overdosed in September 2019, which caused him much grief.

“I’m almost running out of things to say … about addictions and how it’s destroying families and causing people to, who are otherwise leading successful lives, to really lose everything — employment, family, health,” she continued.

Figley detoxified while in custody and is sincere in wanting to remain sober, Jeanson remarked. He hasn’t done treatment before, but wants to apply when he is eligible. Specifically, he is aware there is inpatient and outpatient treatment available in the community.

Jeanson asked Judge Daryl Rayner to waive the victim surcharge since Figley wouldn’t be able to pay while in jail.

“Obviously you’ve had some difficult times in the last few years, especially in 2017 … ,” Rayner said to Figley. “I hope this time in custody gives you the opportunity to address your drug addiction.”

Rayner then accepted the guilty pleas and sentencing recommendations and agreed to waive the surcharge.

The Provincial Court section holds articles that have been written without prejudice with the information that has been presented in a public court of appeal available to the media and public.