COURTENAY—The 16-year-old suspect charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 19-year-old James Denton will make his next court appearance Oct. 6.
Comox Valley lawyer Robert Yeo acted as agent for Victoria-based defence lawyer Michael Mulligan last week and asked the case be adjourned for more than a month to receive full disclosure from the Crown.
Denton, who spent a better part of his youth in Port Hardy, was stabbed about 11:30 p.m. July 23 near the entrance to G.P. Vanier Secondary School as a crowd dispersed from the Rhythm on the Rock festival at the nearby Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds.
He later died in Comox at St. Joseph’s General Hospital.
The 16-year-old suspect cannot be named due to provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Friends and family gathered Thursday on the lawn of the Courtenay courthouse, holding signs and sporting Justice for James T-shirts before filling the gallery of the courtroom.
The suspect will make his next appearance by video.
Meanwhile, the victim’s grieving family is making sure Denton’s name will live on with the establishment of a bursary in his name.
His parents and younger brother have set up the James Denton Memorial Bursary — administered through School District 71 — to honour him and to help a needy student pay for a post-secondary education.
It will be presented annually to a student graduating from Highland Secondary School who is going into college or university and is interested in the trades.
James’s father David would like to see the bursary help someone who is from a lower-income family who needs some help getting a post-secondary education.
“It’s an opportunity for someone who would never have that opportunity,” he said. “There are lots of kids thinking, ‘I really can’t afford that.’ When it comes to going to school, it costs a lot of money,” said Denton, who added his deceased son would would have liked his family to help others.
“James was going to be very successful,” said his dad.
“I know if he was successful, he’d be helping his buds out whenever he could.”
James’s younger brother, Shane, agrees.
“He wanted everybody else to do as good as he was doing,” he said.
Family friend Brian Norman says James was a real role model.
“He was a great example for all his friends,” he said. “That was the coolest part about James — he lived his life as an example. He didn’t tell people what to do, he just showed them.”
“He was well liked, never missed a day and never showed up late,” said David. The Denton family is very grateful to their friends and family and to the community for supporting them at such a hard time.
“Their support has been amazing,” said James’s mother, Brenda.
Those who want to contribute to the bursary can mail a cheque to the James Denton Memorial Bursary, care of School District No. 71, Comox Valley, 607 Cumberland Rd., Courtenay, B.C., V9N 7G5.
“Hopefully we can pick one person out each year who will get something out of it, and it might change their life,” sad David.
“I know (James) would be happy we’re helping someone somewhere,” he said.
“We just want his name to live on and people to know what he stood for.”