Alberta man sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter in shooting death of Métis hunters
One of two men convicted in the shooting deaths of two Métis hunters in rural Alberta more than two years ago has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Roger Bilodeau, 58, was convicted on Friday of two counts of manslaughter.
Bilodeau will receive a credit of approximately four and a half years for the time already served.
His son Anthony, 33, will be sentenced in November for second-degree murder and manslaughter in the deaths of Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal.
Anthony and Roger Bilodeau were convicted in May of the deaths of Sansom and Cardinal, who were shot and killed on a rural Alberta road after a brief chase.
The families of Sansom and Cardinal told the Court of Queen’s Bench on Friday that they were horrified to learn that the two men had been shot.
In a victim impact statement delivered to a packed courtroom, Ruby Smith recounted seeing the body of her son, Sansom, in the morgue five days after he was shot. Two days later, she does the same with Cardinal, her brother.
She said she was haunted by images and flashbacks and tormented by questions.
« Who would leave them dead on the road as if they were a filthy species? » Smith told the court.
« Is there any chance they could have been saved? » Why did they make the ruthless choice to murder them both?
Sansom’s widow, Sarah Sansom, sobbed as she listened to her family members share their pain.
She was the last person to deliver her victim impact statement.
She described the toll the deaths took on her three children. She said her two daughters were always smiling and laughing. Now she can barely get any of them out of the house.
When Sarah goes out for some reason, she says her son calls her every 15 minutes to make sure everything is okay.
« It caused a complete blast in our lives and our family in a way that we can never recover from, » she said.
Jacob Sansom’s sister, Gina Sansom, also spoke about the deaths of the two men as she addressed her comments to the convicted killers.
« You are thieves of our happiness and joy, » she said. « You were the only thieves present that night and in the courtroom today… You stole so much in a few moments. »
The trial heard that on March 27, 2020, when Anthony Bilodeau saw truck lights in his yard, on a rural property outside the village of Glendon in northern Alberta, he and his 16-year-old son years jumped into his truck to give chase. He told the court he thought the occupants of the trucks might be thieves.
The father-of-nine called his son Anthony during the chase and told him to bring a gun.
Seconds after arriving at the scene, Anthony shot Sansom in the chest. Then he shot Cardinal three times in the back.
The Bilodeaus left the bodies of the two men on the road.
“He had nothing to do with all that”
Crown prosecutor Jordan Kerr asked the judge to impose a 15-year sentence, calling the father and son’s actions vigilante.
« It wasn’t impulsive, » Kerr said. « He had nothing to do with any of that. »
Defense attorney Shawn Gerstel argued the evidence did not support a vigilante justice theory.
« If he could go back, he would, » Gerstel told the court. « It was an unfortunate chain of events that unfolded that he will have to live with for the rest of his life. »
The defense suggested a sentence of six and a half years.
Before being sentenced, Roger Bilodeau addressed the court by reading a written statement.
“It got out of control in a few minutes and I didn’t have time to react,” said Bilodeau. He admitted to showing poor judgment that night.
« I had no intention of hurting anyone and I am sincerely sorry for my actions and the difficulties I have caused, » Bilodeau said while fighting back tears.
At the time of sentencing, Judge Eric Macklin said that « two innocent men were killed. Roger Bilodeau tried to take justice into his own hands. »
Outside of court, Sansom’s widow said she felt vindicated by the judge’s words.
« The judge said what we all knew, » she said. “That these boys were innocent.
« They were hunted down and murdered for nothing. »