(Melfort) Jurors at the coroner’s inquest into the stabbing in an Indigenous community in Saskatchewan in September 2022 began deliberating on Tuesday to make recommendations to prevent such tragedies in the future. ‘future.
Myles Sanderson murdered 11 people and injured 17 others in the Cree community of James Smith and the neighboring village of Weldon, northeast of Saskatoon, on September 4, 2022. He died days later while had just been arrested.
“It is your duty to try to take this tragic event and make something positive out of it,” Blaine Beaven, the chief coroner, told the six jurors Tuesday morning.
For two weeks, the coroner’s inquest has heard from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers present on the scene, those responsible for emergency medical services and health workers called to intervene.
The investigation also shed light on parts of Sanderson’s life, such as some of his personal relationships and his prison past.
New information about how Sanderson was able to evade police detection for more than three days was heard on Monday. Sergeant Evan Anderson of the Saskatchewan RCMP’s major crimes unit said Sanderson set up a “camp” in the bushes not far from a home near Crystal Springs, a hamlet in east-central Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan, near Wakaw.
The homeowner called police on September 7, 2022 to report that Sanderson had broken into her home and fled in his vehicle. Police pursued the killer until the vehicle Sanderson was driving ended up in a ditch near Rosthern.
Sanderson, 32, was in “medical distress” while in police custody and was pronounced dead at Saskatoon hospital. A second inquest into his death is due to take place in February.
Keith Brown, the Cree community’s lawyer, said Monday that jurors must consider numerous pieces of evidence before making their recommendations. “I hope that each family has perhaps gotten a little more information and perhaps some closure to their loved ones’ specific situation,” Ms.e Brown.
The investigation aims to establish the events leading up to the murders, who died, and when and where each person was killed.
Me Beaven told the jury that much of that information, including the identities of those killed and the manner of death, was straightforward. “You asked questions. It is clear that you are invested in the process. »
Coroner Beaven clarified that the jury’s recommendations must be practical, applicable, lawful and based on evidence.
Chronology of events
RCMP said in an overview of the killings that Sanderson went to the Cree community to sell cocaine. In the days before the murders, he had caused chaos there with his brother, Damien.
Damien Sanderson was the first to be killed. Myles Sanderson then went door to door in the community, stabbing and killing other people.
An RCMP criminal profiler said some victims were targeted because Sanderson believed they were associated with a gang, while others got in his way.
The inquiry heard from Sanderson’s parole officers, former Correctional Service Canada employees and others who dealt with the killer as he navigated the prison system.
Sanderson was granted statutory release in August 2021, after being denied parole earlier that year. Statutory release takes effect when an offender has served two-thirds of their prison sentence.
Four months later, authorities learned he had lied about his living conditions, and his release was suspended. In February 2022, the parole board overturned this suspension and Sanderson was again released on statutory release, with reprimand.
Three months later, Sanderson was illegally at large and a parole officer issued a warrant for his arrest. He was still at large at the time of the killing.
The inquest also heard from Sanderson’s common-law partner, Vanessa Burns. His father, Earl Burns Sr., was also killed by Sanderson.
“The jury has a very important task before it,” Kim Beaudin, vice-leader of the Saskatchewan Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, said Monday after testimony concluded at the coroner’s inquest.
Mr. Beaudin said it was important that ministries and all levels of government act on the recommendations and that they not be shelved.