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

Roger Bilodeau

Jacob Sanson, left and his uncle Maurice Cardinal were killed in 20020. Photo: APTN

Roger Bilodeau, an Alberta man found guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of two Métis hunters, is appealing his conviction and sentence.

Bilodeau, 59, was convicted in May and sentenced to 10 years in prison, minus time served, and a lifetime ban on gun ownership for his role in the deaths of Métis hunters Maurice Cardinal, 57, and Jacob Sansom, 39, on a rural road in Alberta in 2020.

“The Learned Trial Justice failed to properly instruct the Jury on party liability and specifically with respect to the underlying elements of the unlawful purpose needed to be proven to convict based on common intention required by Section 21 (2) of the Criminal Code of Canada,” wrote Bilodeau’s lawyer in the notice filed on Sept. 19.

At trial, prosecutors argued that Bilodeau took the law into his own hands when he asked his son Joseph 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, 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 and 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.”

Editor’s Note: The original story said that Joseph Bilodeau was convicted of second-degree murder. This was wrong – Anthony Bilodeau was the son who was convicted. We apologize for the error. 

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