British Columbia Crime: 8.5 Years for Man Who Murdered Aunt in North Vancouver

British Columbia Crime: 8.5 Years for Man Who Murdered Aunt in North Vancouver
British Columbia Crime: 8.5 Years for Man Who Murdered Aunt in North Vancouver

Warning: This story contains disturbing details

A man has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for fatally stabbing his aunt in North Vancouver, just hours after he was released from police custody.

Anthony Del Rosario was sentenced last week in the British Columbia Supreme Court in connection with the 2022 death of Dominga Santos. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in April.

Santos was found dead in her apartment on December 13, 2022. Del Rosario was arrested at the scene and detectives said he was known to police at the time.

In his decision, Judge Warren Milman explained that Del Rosario came to Canada from the Philippines in 1997, with sponsorship from his aunt. Milman said Santos also sent money to Del Rosario’s family to support his education, and let him live with her at her home for “many years.”

The court heard that Del Rosario had a history of illegal drug use in the Philippines, which continued when he moved to Canada. Several relationships ended because of Del Rosario’s drug use, Milman wrote, until he completed a 10-year period of abstinence.

After living in Ottawa for several years, Del Rosario moved back to Vancouver and eventually moved back in with his aunt. In 2022, he began recycling crystal meth, Milman said.

“As a result of his continued drug use and what appeared to be an unwanted embrace that made her uncomfortable, the decedent asked him to leave her apartment, which he did,” Milman’s ruling said. “His use of crystal methamphetamine rapidly increased thereafter. His weekly expenditures on his addiction more than doubled.”

Release from custody

The day before Santos’ death, the court heard, Del Rosario was asked to drive another aunt to Santos’ home. Milman wrote that Del Rosario’s aunt was “alarmed by his driving” and said he appeared intoxicated.

“He drove in an erratic and dangerous manner. He swerved the vehicle through traffic and into a lane on the wrong side of the road,” the court heard. “He disobeyed traffic signals. He appeared to be hallucinating at times. He was waving his arms.”

Del Rosario then drove to a McDonald’s, where he smoked crystal meth in the parking lot, Milman wrote. He entered the restaurant, where an employee called police. The officer on the scene arrested Del Rosario and gave him the option of being dropped off at his aunt’s house if a responsible adult was present to supervise him. But when he arrived at his aunt’s apartment, Del Rosario attempted to flee, and the officer took him to the police station.

“He was held by police for several hours. While in custody, he was observed shadow boxing or punching the air. He said he heard voices,” Milman’s ruling read. “He later told the psychiatrist that while in custody, he felt someone tapping the back of his head and a tongue hitting his leg. He said he felt tongues trying to penetrate his skin. He tried to fight off the imaginary attackers.”

Del Rosario was released at 1 a.m. on December 13, the day Santos was killed. After her release, Santos allowed Del Rosario to return to her apartment.

“Mr. Del Rosario later told one of the psychiatrists that when he awoke the next morning he saw the devil, a snake or ghosts that he thought were trying to kill him or suck his blood,” Milman wrote. “He struggled with one of them, he said, and at one point realized it was his aunt. He heard a voice telling him to kill the monster.”

When neighbors heard loud noises coming from Santos’ apartment mid-morning, they called police.

Milman explained that Santos died of “multiple blunt and sharp force injuries,” and police found Del Rosario with her when they arrived at the scene. He was arrested and initially taken to a nearby hospital before being taken back to the police station.

Del Rosario was initially charged with second-degree murder, to which he pleaded not guilty. He later pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

While Crown had sought a 10-year prison sentence for Del Rosario and his defense had sought five or six years, he was instead given a sentence of eight and a half years. Milman said Del Rosario had no criminal record prior to his aunt’s death and had not used drugs since the date of the offense. Milman also said Del Rosario “is genuinely remorseful.”

Minus time already served, Del Rosario was sentenced to six years and two months in prison and was also given a lifetime weapons ban.