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Invermere man died of hypothermia

Cory Jarock froze to death on an Invermere driveway in April 2012 - Courtesy Columbia Valley Pioneer
Cory Jarock froze to death on an Invermere driveway in April 2012
— image credit: Courtesy Columbia Valley Pioneer

Cory Jarock died of hypothermia after being kicked out of a house party in Invermere in April 2012, according to the prosecution in the trial of Brian Panebianco.

The 25-year-old Invermere man is charged with manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death, robbery and assault causing bodily harm in the death of 31-year-old Jarock, who was found deceased April 3, 2012 in the driveway of a home in Invermere's Tunnacliffe Heights neighbourhood.

The two-week trial got underway Tuesday, Jan. 14 in Cranbrook Supreme Court before Justice Kenneth Ball and a 14-person jury, including two alternates.

Crown prosecutor Lynal Doerksen began the evidence by addressing the jury.

“This case is a tragic case. It’s something that didn’t have to happen and could easily have been avoided,” he said.

Doerksen went on to summarize the evidence he would be presenting. He told the jury that two young women invited a group of friends, including Panebianco and Jarock, to a small party on April 2, 2012.

People were drinking, Doerksen explained, and Jarock “drank an awful lot”. One of the girls asked Panebianco to deal with Jarock, who had become a nuisance.

“Unfortunately, he did that in a way that is not acceptable,” said Doerksen.

Panebianco assaulted Jarock, threw him outside and left him there, Doerksen told the jury, adding that the temperature that spring night reached the freezing mark.

When Panebianco left the party about 45 minutes later, Jarock was still outside.

Invermere realtor Daniel Zurgilgen was called as a witness to describe what he saw when he drove down the street the next day at about 1 p.m.

Zurgilgen testified that he was turning around in the culdesac on 5th Avenue when he saw a person lying on a driveway. Zurgilgen pulled over and began to approach the person. Jarock was lying on his front with his backside exposed, he wasn’t wearing shoes and his limbs were blue, Zurgilgen said. He stopped at two metres away from the man and called 911.

A tape of the 911 call was played during the trial. Zurgilgen can be heard talking to the BC Ambulance dispatcher.

“He’s not moving. It’s not looking good,” Zurgilgen said on the tape.

The paramedic who responded also testified Tuesday that when he arrived on the scene, he checked Jarock’s vital signs and determined that he was deceased.

Two RCMP officers, one a forensic specialist, also gave evidence about the scene. Cst. Christopher Sheppard was the first RCMP officer to respond. He saw a jacket, two shoes and socks and a baseball cap scattered around the front yard.

Cpl. Eric Page told the court that he found traces of blood on the pavement and on the steps leading to the house, but it was too faint to be tested.

The testimony continues in Cranbrook Supreme Court this week.

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