EDMONTON — A jury has found a man guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting of two Métis hunters on a rural road in Alberta.

They also found the man's father guilty of two counts of manslaughter.

Lawyers for Anthony Bilodeau and his father Roger Bilodeau had argued the shooting was in self-defence.

The Crown argued the accused took the law into their own hands when they chased down Jacob Sansom and his uncle Maurice Cardinal, because they believed the hunters had been at the family's farm earlier and were trying to steal.

Prosecutors said the shooting was in no way justified.

"This simply is a case of taking the law into your own hands and it's a case of tragic results," Crown lawyer Jeff Rudiak told the jury during his closing statements Monday.

"Two innocent men, Jake and Morris, had absolutely no business dying that night … these two fellas did nothing wrong."

Jurors heard that Sansom and Cardinal had been moose hunting before they were found dead on the side of a road near Glendon, Alta., in March 2020.

Sansom was shot once in the chest and Cardinal was hit three times in the shoulder.

A jury has found a man guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting of two Métis hunters on a rural road in Alberta.

The jurors, who began deliberations around suppertime Monday, returned the verdicts late Tuesday afternoon.

They found Anthony Bilodeau guilty of second-degree murder for shooting Cardinal and guilty of manslaughter for shooting Sansom.

Court heard that on the night of March 27, 2020, Anthony Bilodeau got a call from his father and younger brother, who were pursing a white Dodge pickup they suspected had been on the family farm earlier in the day.

Roger Bilodeau told his older son to meet up with them and to bring a gun for protection, court was told.

Anthony Bilodeau testified that his phone was still connected to his father's Bluetooth speaker when he heard thuds and cracking glass before his brother screamed for someone not to kill or hurt his father.

Court heard that Sansom smashed the passenger window of Roger Bilodeau's Ford F-150 with his bare fists then allegedly attacked Joseph and Roger Bilodeau in the truck.

When he arrived, Anthony Bilodeau said, he shot Sansom because the man had charged toward him. He also said he heard Sansom call out to Cardinal to get a gun so they could kill him.

Anthony Bilodeau said he shot Cardinal after the hunter came at him with a large gun. He said Cardinal told him he was going to kill him in retaliation for shooting Sansom.

Anthony Bilodeau testified he could see Cardinal's gun had a magazine attached and he feared for everyone's safety. He said he shot Cardinal another two times in the back of the shoulder.

The prosecutor said the killings were unlawful because there had been no threat of violence when Anthony Bilodeau was told to bring a gun.

Rudiak said Anthony Bilodeau was the first person to produce a gun and intensified the situation.

Brian Beresh, a lawyer representing Anthony Bilodeau, told the jury to find his client not guilty because he had no choice but to shoot the two hunters.

Beresh focused on the alcohol levels of Sansom and Cardinal. A toxicology report showed Sansom's blood-alcohol level was nearly three times over the legal driving limit, while Cardinal's was nearly twice over the limit. The prosecution said that wasn't relevant in the case.

Court also heard that after the shooting, Anthony Bilodeau cut up his gun and threw it in a dump. He also disposed of lights from his bumper at another dump. He testified that he did it because he was in shock and didn't want to go to jail for protecting his family.

Shawn Gerstel, Roger Bilodeau's lawyer, said his client only followed Sansom and Cardinal to ask them why they were in his yard.

“Roger’s actions that night were a mistake, but they were not criminal,” Gerstel told the jury.

He said the Bilodeaus were on the phone for roughly two and a half minutes before the shooting and could have not developed an "unlawful plan."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2022.

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less of a travesty of justice than the Saskatchewan farmer’s getting acquitted by a white jury because “settler culture has taught them all natives are drunk and murderous”.

Maybe the horrific injustice in the Coulten Boushie case made enough people look in the mirror and acknowledge the lies we’ve been fed— our own Canadian propaganda machine’s effect.

Maybe the hundreds of graves detected at the so called schools/prison camps has helped more of us really understand the depths of the genocidal policies of canada’s history , make real to enough of us to start seeing hate in action for what it is.

With the province of Alberta currently in a state of politically partisan flux—a leadership race among members of the governing UCP party and a general election scheduled about eleven months from now (while both contests are certain, their exact dates have yet to be announced)—these murder/manslaughter convictions are apropos to the UCP’s overt policy objective of circumventing federal gun laws.

The UCP’s policy objectives are rationalized in nearly identical terms as the convicted men used in their unsuccessful defence—and in the successful defence used by the defendant in Saskatchewan’s 2016 Colten Boushie case. The Boushie verdict was widely condemned for being prejudiced against indigenous people and, specifically, toward the victim himself. In both the present and Boushie cases, the victims were Aboriginal men and the men charged were White, land-owning farmers. (Subsequently, in 2019, the SCoC upheld federal legislation which eliminated peremptory challenges during jury selection which led to the Boushie jury being all-white).

The defences in both cases referenced private property protection—which does not entitle anyone killing anybody else—but swung on self-defence in which the defendants claimed that their lives were threatened by the victims and, therefore, homicide is justifiably not criminal. In neither case were the victims able to testify—all three were dead.

However, the convictions of Anthony Bilodeau (second-degree murder and manslaughter) and his father Roger (manslaughter) in the 2020 killings of Métis hunters Morris Cardinal and his nephew, Jacob Sansom, differed from the Boushie case in large part because Roger Bilodeau had chased the victims’ truck, claiming he’d been seen it on his property earlier, phoned his son, Anthony, to join the chase and bring a gun. Neither Bilodeau reported the shootings and, later, attempted to evade police by altering the appearance of the killer’s truck and destroying and disposing of the weapon used in the killings. That is, the difference being that the Sansom/Cardinal killings resulted in convictions, whereas the Boushie killing ended in acquittal.

(Colten Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, was in court in Edmonton yesterday —the Métis hunters were killed in Alberta— to hear the guilty verdicts being read.)

Just the other day the federal Liberal government passed legislation restricting various types of firearms, restrictions the UCP likens to “harassment” of “law-abiding gun-owners,” has suggested the provincial government would bankroll lawsuits by individual Albertans against federal gun laws, and has lamely deflected that the UCP’s stand against these federal laws looks like the Alberta version of the American “Stand-Your-Ground” doctrine (that one may kill someone perceived as threatening cher “right” to stand cher ground). Further, the UCP created the Alberta Chief Firearms Office and appointed gun-enthusiast Teri-Jane Bryant its first Officer in order to advocate its gun-toting objectives —and harass the feds over gun laws, one of the centrepieces of UCP demagoguery. Moreover, Alberta’s minister of justice, Tyler Shandro, ominously warned that the Trudeau government is “misplacing the burden of public safety on law-abiding gun-owners and retailers” whom the UCP pledges to champion—which sounds like an endorsement of taking the law into one’s hands—especially, it would seem, if with a firearm, and even more so if against an Aboriginal citizen.

Given the UCP’s official positions and policies, given these recent murder/manslaughter convictions in Alberta (again, in light of the 2016 Boushie killing in Saskatchewan), and given the UCP leadership and Alberta general elections, could the timing be more appropriate to ask Jason Kenney, creator of the UCP and outgoing premier, justice minster Shandro, and Chief Firearms Officer Bryant their positions on these Alberta homicides?

Indeed, in light of the deadly mass-shootings in Buffalo, NY, and the Texas school where 19 school children and two of their teachers were murdered, neither of which induced the slightest discretion nor respect from Alberta’s government, the UCP should make their position clear about what, in effect, looks like an official endorsement of shooting Aboriginal men and asking questions later. It’s nearing time, after all, for UCP members and Albertan voters to make some choices about which the premier’s office, the justice ministry and the Chief Firearms Office have an obligation to respond.