Glassville man gets jail time, driving prohibition in death of Cole Hunter

by | Oct 30, 2023

Jesse Bulmer sentenced to three years in jail, unable to drive for five years

The man responsible for the death of 20-year-old Cole Hunter of Connell in 2020 was sentenced to three years in jail, prohibited from driving for five years, and must submit a DNA sample to the national database.

Court of Kings Bench Justice Richard Petrie sentenced Jesse Bulmer, 43, of Glassville, on Oct. 30, almost three years to the day of the accident that claimed Hunter’s life.

On Oct. 26, 2020, Hunter was killed when the side-by-side he was a passenger in left the Kenneth Road. Hunter was pinned under the ATV and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bulmer was charged with impaired driving causing death, and failing to immediately comply with a breathalyzer demand. Justice Petrie heard evidence during a five-day trial in February and found Bulmer guilty on both charges on July 21, 2023.

Crown attorneys Jennifer Bueno and Christopher Ryan requested a four-year jail sentence, a ten-year driving prohibition, and a $1,000 fine.

Defence lawyer Michael Young asked for a jail sentence of between two and a half and three years with a driving prohibition of three years.

In passing sentence, Justice Petrie noted aggravating factors that contributed to his decision, including Bulmer’s blood alcohol concentration, which was more than twice the legal limit, and the profound impact the death of Hunter had on his family and the community.

The mitigating factors Justice Petrie considered were the Section 9 Charter breach by the RCMP related to the overholding of Bulmer for an extra four hours after his police statement and his lack of a criminal record.

“He’s also unknown to the Minister of Social Development; he enjoyed a solid and stable upbringing and has consistently been employed; he is a responsible citizen, he has supported his two children, he has the love and support of his family and his current partner of five years,” said Justice Petrie of Bulmer.

The judge characterized the Charter breach as “more than minimal, but not so significant” and considered it a mitigating factor.

In handing down sentencing, he was critical of the RCMP’s decision not to have an expert accident reconstructionist attend the scene.

“The court did not have the potential benefit of that evidence,” he noted, stating that he could not determine if there was excessive speed or recklessness by Bulmer in driving that night.

Family members and a close friend submitted victim impact statements.

Hunter’s mother, Theresa, read her statement to the court.

“Cole and I were the glue that held everything together on a daily basis back on the farm in 2020, especially with livestock,” she told the judge. “There was never any guessing who Cole’s mom was. Everyone knew we were a team… this accident did not define who my boy was. The last thing Cole did was be an organ donor. He’s still helping others. We, Cole’s family, live each day carrying on Cole’s legacy. As Cole’s mom, I am extremely proud of all of Cole’s accomplishments in his short life. I loved my boy, and I miss him every day,” she told the court, unable to hold back her tears.

Bulmer was asked if he wanted to say anything to the court before he was sentenced. He declined.

Before announcing his decision, Justice Petrie acknowledged the profound loss to the Hunter family.

“It is difficult to conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one’s child,” said the judge. “I fully appreciate that no sentence this court imposes on Mr. Bulmer will make what happened to Cole any more understandable or less painful for his family and friends. No sentence will, in any way, be proportionate or comparable to their loss.”

Bulmer, surrounded by family and supporters, showed no emotion when he was handcuffed and escorted from the court by Sherrif’s officers.

After sentencing, Theresa Hunter sent a statement to the River Valley Sun.

“As a mother, the most disheartening thing about today’s outcome would be that a grown man still refuses to take responsibility for his actions,” she wrote. “All we (Cole’s family) ever wanted from when the accident happened was accountability. It didn’t happen. Here we are three years later, and it’s caused a lot more hurt.”

Cole Hunter’s mother, Theresa, read her victim impact statement to the court, noting how proud she was of all of her son’s accomplishments, particularly his work with 4-H. (Submitted photo)

Jesse Bulmer and his lawyer, Michael Young, leaving the Woodstock courthouse after a five-day trial in Feb. 2023. Bulmer was found guilty in July, and sentenced for the death of Cole Hunter on Oct. 30. (Theresa Blackburn photo)

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