SUDBURY -- A cocaine dealer from Toronto has received six years in jail for a drug deal gone bad in Sault Ste. Marie in 2020 that left one person dead.

According to the transcript from the Superior Court of Justice, Isaiah Alvarado, then 19, was driven from Toronto to the Sault in January 2020 to sell cocaine. He had a loaded handgun with him.

"Two of his customers attempted to rob him using bear mace and a machete," the transcript said.

Alvarado was pepper sprayed and testified that he was afraid for his life when the pair came toward him, one of them carrying the machete. He kneeled with his back turned away from them and fired three shots over his shoulder.

"Mr. Alvarado shot and killed one of the assailants," the transcript said.

He fled the scene and drove back to Toronto, where he was arrested in March 2020 and returned to the Sault.

While not saying the killing was an act of self-defence, the judge pointed out the Crown didn't charge Alvarado for killing his attacker, but for weapons and drug offences, as well as breaching previous release conditions.

Corroborated by the evidence

But his version of events that night was corroborated by the evidence – witnesses reported smelling bear mace, and a bullet hole in the wall had an upward trajectory consistent with someone firing upward.

"The only evidence I have about what took place during the shooting itself came from Mr. Alvarado’s statement," the judge wrote.

"Accordingly, I find that Mr. Alvarado believed – and had reasonable grounds to believe – that force was being used against him and that his life was in danger when he fired the gun over his shoulder. He defended himself by shooting at his assailants, which act was reasonable in the circumstances."

Alvarado also offered a sincere apology to the family of the man he killed, the judge said, and is a young man with a child "who is sincerely trying to turn his life around."

The judge sentenced him to five years for the drug and weapons offences, plus another year for the breach of release conditions.

Read the full transcript here.