A sentencing hearing started Friday for Daniel Forrest Creagh, who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Joseph Gauthier outside a house on Hillside Avenue in March 2018.

Creagh is charged with the second-degree murder of Gauthier. He did initially pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. On Friday morning, court heard he has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Gauthier, a father of four, was found dead after Victoria police were called to the 1400-block of Hillside Avenue for a disturbance early in the morning on March 10, 2018. Police later deemed the death a homicide.

Creagh was later arrested in Maple Ridge in July 2018.

Investigators with the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit made the arrest, with assistance from Ridge Meadows RCMP.

A statement of facts and witness impact statements is being heard at the sentencing.

According to an agreed statement of facts, there was a party at the Hillside Avenue home that night, fueled by drugs and alcohol. A heated argument broke out between Gauthier and Creagh. Gauthier ended up punching Creagh in the face several times inside the home, knocking him to the ground.

The altercation eventually moved out to the street, where Creagh, armed with a knife he had grabbed in the kitchen, stabbed Gauthier multiple times. The most fatal stab was to the heart. Friends say Gauthier was unconscious and didn’t appear to be breathing. He was later pronounced dead.

Creagh fled the scene before being arrested by police the following morning in Langford. After being released, he was arrested again in Maple Ridge.

The victim impact statements were from Gauthier’s friends and family. Gauthier’s mother Darlene, struggled for a moment before addressing the court. She says the loss had devastated the large family. Gauthier’s son’s statement was read in the court, saying “I will never be able to look at my dad again and tell him I love him.

Crown counsel is asking that Creagh is handed an eight-year sentence.

The sentencing will resume on March 11.