Gloria Gladue’s family searched for her for three years before the 44 year-old woman’s remains were found in rural Manitoba.
Gladue had seven children and 17 grandchildren, all of whom miss her terribly. Now, one of her children is speaking out about the verdict.
“She was the glue that held our family together, things will never be the same” says daughter Nicole Gladue-Weesemat.
“I just feel that there hasn’t been justice. Without justice there is no peace for me and my family,” says Gladue-Weesemat.
Grant Sneesby, 72, was charged with second degree murder. The verdict delivered by a jury in Peace River Alta. took under four hours and acquitted him of murder. Instead, the charge that stuck was manslaughter.
Sneesby admitted that he had stabbed Gladue but claimed it was self defense.
While the family of Gloria Gladue searched for her, and spoke at the MMIWG inquiry in Edmonton. Sneesby had wrapped her body in plastic and stored it in a trailer for over a year before moving it to a nephew’s property in Manitoba.
He later used a sled to move the remains to a wooded area.
Gladue-Weesemat said the family feels very disheartened about the outcome of the trial. It was a long and difficult road through the court system to get to the point where her mother’s killer was charged and put on trial.
“My mother didn’t have an easy life. The residential school played a part it her family and she did not have an easy life,” said Gladue-Weesemat. “A lot of people tell me that my mom was a kind, sweet, funny lady.”
Gladue-Weesemat remembers her mother as the person who taught her how to fix clothing and make ribbon skirts. She said she was also a great cook.
“Now I miss that mother-love where you can pick up the phone and the moment she says something, I feel so much better.”
“I feel sad for the younger grandchildren,” she said, “they will never get to know the fun loving grandma Gloria.”
One of her grandchildren spoke in court to give their victim impact statement. The document was obtained by APTN News. The child, 13 wrote that “I am very sad she is gone. It breaks my heart that I can’t walk to the mailbox anymore and I have to go by myself now.”
Difficult trial for Gloria Gladue’s family
Sneesby only confessed due to an RCMP tactic known as a “Mr. Big Operation” where the police pretend to be a part of a criminal underworld in order to coax a confession out of a suspect.
The testimony lasted 12 days. While murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, manslaughter does not have a minimum or maximum sentence.
With credit for time served, and additional credit for being in custody during the COVID-19 pandemic Sneesby’s sentence of 11 years means he has only three years and seven months left to serve
Gladue-Weedemat was very unhappy, “We are the ones affected. We are the ones given the life sentences. Do they not think of the repercussions to the family?” she asked.
The case is the second this month in Alberta courts that deals with Indigenous victims and claims of self-defense by white defendants. Anthony Bilodeau was also convicted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the deaths of Métis hunters Maurice Cardinal and Jacob Sansom.
Bilodeau was sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter and a lifetime ban on owning a gun. He’s appealing that sentence.
“I have met so many missing and murdered families that went through the same thing we did,” said Gladue-Weesemat.
“My mom went to jail once, six and a half years before her murder, and they used that to justify his defense that he was an aggressor,” she said. Gladue-Weesemat does not believe the story of self-defense that Sneesby’s lawyers used.
She says it was very difficult to sit silently through some of the things said about her mother, “you just want to yell that’s not true, that’s not true.”