Hang-glider pilot William Jon Orders was sentenced to five months in jail and three years probation in a Chilliwack, B..C., courtroom today for causing the death of his passenger, Mexican student Lenami Godinez-Avila.
Orders had originally pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death, but changed his plea to guilty during a court appearance on Friday.
Godinez-Avila fell 300 metres to her death while tandem hang-gliding with Orders in April 2012.
Police later recovered a memory card that had reportedly been swallowed by Orders. However, no video of the flight has ever been publicly released. Witnesses said at the time it looked like Avila wasn't strapped in
During the sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Judge Brian Joyce said, "Connecting Avila was a fundamental step," which Orders didn't do.
Orders's daughter wrote a letter of support to the court, saying he was a loving father, but the Mexican student's death made him withdrawn and depressed.
The judge noted Orders has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and said, "I'm satisfied his remorse is genuine."
Orders was born in New Zealand and had applied for Canadian citizenship before he was charged. The judge noted that would likely be denied now, but he could be allowed to stay on compassionate grounds.
Aside from uttering "not guilty" in court last year, Jon Orders had only spoken publicly about Godinez-Avila's death once, when he gave a public apology to her family.
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