- The Gallery
Murdered teacher sentenced posthumously
A teacher would be in prison tonight had he not been murdered.
The Court of Appeal posthumously sentenced Andre Pedro Valdes to 12 months in prison for causing the death of 16-year-old Destyne Smith.
Smith, a student of North Long Island High School, was killed in March 2017 after he fell off the bed of a truck driven by Valdes, his physical education teachers
Valdes was speeding to a track meet and Smith was seated on a high jump mat on the back of the truck.
As the truck sped along, the mat flew off the truck’s bed, taking Smith with it.
Valdes pleaded guilty to manslaughter by negligence in November 2019 and was fined $2,500 or one year in prison.
He was placed on probation for five years and ordered to pay Smith’s mother $10,000 in compensation.
The Crown appealed the lenient sentence and said a jail term was appropriate given the circumstances.
The Court of Appeal has ordered the fine money returned to his estate.
Despite his conviction, Valdes remained employed with the Ministry of Education.
He was shot to death on the grounds of the Stapledon School For the Mentally Disabled where he worked and lived on January 1, 2021. Police have charged his half-brother Rafael Valdes with his murder.