An 11 member jury has found Bradley Barton, 52, guilty of manslaughter in the death of Metis and Cree mother Cindy Gladue.
The jury started deliberations Friday morning and came delivered a verdict at 6:45 p.m. MT.
Family and friends of Gladue seated in the public gallery began crying.
“We’re happy. Justice has been served,” Gladue’s friend Kari Thomason told reporters outside court.
Lisa Weber, the lawyer for Gladue’s mother, Donna McLeod, echoed that sentiment.
“In this case, we had a victim who was silenced and so she didn’t have the opportunity to tell her side of the story,” Weber said.
“This gives us some confidence that perhaps there is a chance we can have justice.”
In thanking the jury for its service, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Stephen Hillier acknowledged the graphic testimony heard over the course of the six-week trial and urged members to lean on supports offered by the court.
Dino Battos, Barton’s lawyer had told the jury that Barton, a truck driver from Ontario had agreed to pay Gladue, 36, for sex on two consecutive nights in 2011 at the Yellowhead Inn in Edmonton, Alta.
By the end of the second night, Barton said he found Gladue dead in the hotel bathroom.
The Crown told the court that Barton intended to harm Gladue.
Just weeks before, his computer google search history showed disturbing searches for women being hurt during sex.
Barton told the court that he and some co-workers were drinking with Gladue at the hotel bar.
Barton was acquitted by a jury during his first trial in 2015 following a controversial prosecution. The language used in the trial sparked rallies and calls for justice for Indigenous women.
Appeals of the case landed in the Supreme Court of Canada that ruled in 2019 that Barton should be tried again, but this time for manslaughter.
Lise Gotell, a gender studies professor at the University of Alberta, was vice-chair of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, or LEAF, one of 16 groups that intervened in the Barton case before the Supreme Court.
Gladue was repeatedly referred to as a “native” and a “prostitute” during the first trial.
A Supreme Court judge agreed the words perpetuated myths and stereotypes of Indigenous women.
Gotell said Gladue hasn’t been buried which would have been most painful to her family.
“In Cree teachings, someone’s spirit continues to wander until their body is buried.
“She hasn’t been put to rest.”
On Thursday, two jurors were excused, one for potentially being biased, and the other for allegedly trying to sway other jurors.
A reserve juror was called in.
The maximum sentence for manslaughter could be life in prison.
Cindy Gladue was the mother to three children.
With files from the Canadian Press