ALBERTA, CA: Man sentenced to 10 years for the deaths of two Métis hunters in Alberta


A man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the deaths of two Métis hunters who were shot on a rural road in Alberta.

A judge says Roger Bilodeau is to serve about six years because he gets credit of more than 1,600 days spent in custody during harsh conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A jury found Bilodeau guilty of two counts of manslaughter in May after Jacob Sansom was shot once in the chest and Maurice Cardinal was hit three times in the shoulder more than two years ago.

“Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal were pillars of their community,” Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Eric Macklin said Friday.

“They supported not only their families, but also the community at large by doing things like providing fresh meat for families in need. They were described as men who honoured Mother Earth and were knowledge keepers of their culture. No sentence can relieve the heartbreak, anger and hurt suffered by the victims’ families and friends.”

Bilodeau’s son, Anthony Bilodeau, was also found guilty of manslaughter in the death of Sansom and guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Cardinal, who was Sansom’s uncle. He is to be sentenced at a later date.

The court has heard that Sansom, 39, and Cardinal, 57, had been moose hunting near Glendon, Alta., in March 2020, so they could fill the family’s freezer with meat as COVID-19 was shutting down businesses.

At trial, the prosecution said Roger Bilodeau phoned his son after the hunters briefly stopped in front of his home. He asked Anthony Bilodeau to bring a gun while following the hunters in his truck.

Court heard Roger Bilodeau and the hunters first stopped their trucks on the road. Anthony Bilodeau arrived soon after. Within 26 seconds, Anthony Bilodeau shot Sansom, then shot Cardinal as the hunter was walking to his truck, Crown attorney Jordan Kerr said.

Kerr argued the elder Bilodeau took the law into his own hands.

“Mr. Roger Bilodeau initiated this entire sequence of events,” Kerr said.

Loved ones of the hunters spoke Friday about how their deaths have left them, their friends and their community devastated.

“You are thieves of our happiness and joys,” Sansom’s sister, Gina Sansom, said to Roger Bilodeau as he sat in court.

“You are thieves of our futures and memories promised. You were the only thieves present that night, and in this courtroom today.”

She described her older brother as a loving, patient and gentle man.

Sarah Sansom, Jacob Sansom’s wife, cried as she said their three children haven’t been the same since their father left them.

Other loved ones talked about how they cry every day thinking about what the hunters must have been feeling in their last moments while they were left to die on the road.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 26, 2022.


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