Victoria murder suspect pleads guilty to assault charge

Judge not convinced that assault led directly to death

A Victoria man arrested in Ontario last summer for the second-degree murder of a Victoria street person in 2008 will serve time for a lesser charge.

Ryan Demorest, 26, pleaded guilty in Victoria provincial court on March 14 to a charge of assault causing bodily harm.

Judge Robert Higinbotham sentenced Demorest to 10 months in jail, minus eight months already served behind bars, said Crown spokesperson Samantha Hulme.

In his judgment, Higinbotham indicated that he could not find conclusive evidence that Nicholas Fantasia, 35, died as a direct result of the assault.

Demorest was also handed 60 new days of incarceration time asfter pleading guilty to assaulting a corrections officer at the Vancouver Island Correctional Centre last Sept. 29.

He is required to provide a sample to Canada’s National DNA Data Bank, and is prohibited from owning weapons for life, Hulme said.

Demorest was nabbed by police in Scarborough three years after Fantasia’s body was found underneath the docks at Hyack Adventures’ float plan terminal in the Inner Harbour on Nov. 5, 2008.

Fantasia’s death was labelled a homicide by the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crimes Unit last year, and a Canada-wide warrant was issued for the arrest of Demorest.

-with files from Erin Cardone

emccracken@vicnews.com