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Alberta man found guilty in death of Métis hunters appealing conviction, sentence

Supporters drum outside court, after a jury found two Alberta men guilty in deaths of Metis hunters Jacob Sansom and his uncle Maurice Cardinal, in Edmonton Alta, on Tuesday May 31, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON — An Alberta man found guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of two Métis hunters is appealing his conviction and sentence.

Roger Bilodeau was convicted in May and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the deaths of Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal, who were shot and killed on a rural Alberta road after a brief vehicle pursuit in March 2020.

Bilodeau’s son Anthony, who was tried at the same time as his father, was convicted of second-degree murder in Cardinal’s death and found guilty of manslaughter in Sansom’s death.

Roger Bilodeau argues in his appeal that the trial judge failed to properly instruct the jury on party liability, particularly the underlying elements needed to prove common intention required in the Criminal Code.

In trial, prosecutors argued the elder Bilodeau took the law into his own hands when he asked his son to bring a gun while he chased the truck Sansom and Cardinal were driving.

The Crown argued that the father and son were angry because they thought the two hunters were trying to steal from them.

Anthony Bilodeau is expected to be sentenced later this year.

The court 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.

Justice Eric Macklin said that Sansom and Cardinal were not only providers for their families, but also the community at large by doing things such as giving food for families in need.

"Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal were pillars of their community," Macklin said last month at Roger Bilodeau’s sentencing last month.

“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."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2022.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had the incorrect first name of Anthony Bilodeau.

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