Drugs fuelled stabbing tragedy
A northwestern Sydney teenager who carried a rifle during a fatal robbery-gone-wrong will spend at least 10 years and three months in jail for murder.
The man was 17 when he and four others stormed into a Riverstone home searching for drugs before Kevin Kourtis was stabbed to death in May, 2020, a court has heard.
The man cannot be identified for legal reasons - because he was a minor at the time of the incident - and can only be known as DPD.
In June last year, he plead guilty to Mr Kourtis’ murder as well as firearm possession and common assault.
The court heard that in the months leading up to the murder, DPD was seen arguing with Mr Kourtis about the price of drugs.
Early on May 24, 2020, DPD, two men and two other teenagers forced their way into Mr Kourtis’ Langton St home.
The men were all wearing face coverings as they approached Mr Kourtis’ house.
The court heard that they knocked on Mr Kourtis’ door after midnight, with DPD holding a bolt action rifle and another one of the men carrying a 30cm knife.
They barged their way in after Mr Kourtis answered and he was forced into the kitchen where he was threatened, assaulted and killed.
Mr Kourtis’ girlfriend said she heard plates and other items smashing as she hid underneath a blanket and one of the men was heard asking Mr Kourtis “Where’s the stuff?”.
During the incident, DPD was recognised by one of Mr Kourtis’ housemates and told her “Kevin’s a dog. Kevin’s a dog. Kevin’s a dog”.
Another man, Brandon Shillingsworth, 23, was heard asking Mr Kourtis’ girlfriend “where’s the s***” and told her “you better not be lying to me.”
Shillingsworth was last week jailed for a minimum of nine years and six months after he also pleaded guilty to murder.
Mr Kourtis was found lying on the ground with blood pouring from his chest and mouth.
Police located drug paraphernalia around the house, Mr Kourtis’ teeth on the floor, blood spatters across the kitchen, as well as smashed plates and holes in the wall.
Despite efforts by paramedics to revive him, Mr Kourtis was pronounced dead at the scene.
One of Mr Kourtis’ housemates immediately identified DPD as being one of the men involved in the home invasion.
An autopsy revealed Mr Kourtis had suffered several head wounds during the beating and was stabbed seven times.
DPD was DNA-matched to items of clothing which were that morning found in the yard of nearby houses.
He was arrested about an hour later by the Dog Squad just over 1km from the scene.
“Since it cannot be determined beyond reasonable doubt who inflicted the fatal wound or wounds, the offender cannot be sentenced on the basis that he was the person who fatally stabbed Mr Kourtis,” Supreme Court Justice Wright said.
Justice Wright said DPD nevertheless played a “significant role” in the murder having carried the rifle, pushed Mr Kourtis down the hallway and was present when he was assaulted and stabbed.
The court heard that DPD had lived a transient life because his parents were in and out of jail when he was young.
Justice Wright said he began using drugs at 10 and the court heard he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and substance abuse disorder.
The court heard DPD reported being “extremely ashamed and embarrassed” and was off his medication at the time of the incident.
Justice Wright described Mr Kourtis’ murder as a “tragedy”, “unnecessary” and said it “has undoubtedly caused grief and sorrow for his family and loved ones”.
DPD was on Friday sentenced to spend at least 10 years and three months in prison, with non-parole period expiring in July 2031.
He was sentenced to a maximum jail term of 15 years and three months.