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Crime

Woman assaulted in front of her children outside of their daycare

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News release from Edmonton Police Service

Downtown Division officers arrest male during violent assault on woman outside of daycare

A 30-year-old man is facing various charges including aggravated assault in connection to a violent assault on a woman who was picking up her three children Wednesday afternoon from a central Edmonton daycare.

At approximately 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, July 14, 2021, the 39-year-old mother was standing outside of the daycare facility near 115 Street and 105 Avenue waiting for the front door to be unlocked, when she was approached by a male.

It was reported to police that the impaired male attempted to forcibly pull the backpack off her shoulders. The woman held onto the backpack, as the suspect male unzipped it and attempted to reach inside.

A struggle ensued and then the male allegedly grabbed the complainant’s hair and threw her down, repeatedly smashing her head against the sidewalk.

Responding to a different call involving the same male allegedly trying to break into vehicles in the area, Downtown Division members quickly came to the woman’s aid, as the suspect sat on top of the complainant while strangling her into unconsciousness.

“Two of our members spotted the male suspect choking the woman on the ground and rushed to her aid,” said EPS Insp. Erik Johnson. “Another two minutes and we may have been talking about a homicide today.

“The incident in itself is extremely disturbing and was exacerbated by the fact two of her young children watched the entire incident through the front door of the daycare.”

Paramedics treated and transported the woman to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. She has since been released from hospital.

Rockie Rabbit, 30, has been charged with aggravated assault, choking to overcome resistance, robbery and breach of conditions.

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Alberta

‘No way justified:’ Murder trial told farmer, son assumed Metis hunters were thieves

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EDMONTON — A Crown prosecutor has told a murder trial that an Alberta farmer and his son followed and shot two Métis hunters assuming they were thieves who had earlier driven onto the family’s property.

A lawyer for the farmer says the killings were in self defence.

The jury trial began in Edmonton on Monday for Roger Bilodeau, 58, and his son Anthony Bilodeau, 33, who have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the deaths of Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal.

Sansom, 39, and his 59-year-old uncle were found dead on a rural road near Glendon, northeast of Edmonton, in March 2020.

Prosecutor Jordan Kerr said in his opening statement that Sansom had driven from his home in southern Alberta and dropped his three children off at his mother’s home in Bonnyville. He and his uncle then went moose hunting so they could fill the family’s freezer with meat.

Kerr said the older Bilodeau saw the hunters’ pickup truck slowly go by his home,and it looked like one that had been on his property that day. While following the hunters in his truck, Bilodeau phoned his son and asked him to follow behind and to bring a gun, said the prosecutor.

Security footage from a nearby gas station shows the Bilodeau men in their trucks following Sansom and Cardinal in their truck, Kerr added.

Roger Bilodeau and the hunters first stopped their trucks on the road.

Anthony Bilodeau arrived soon after. Within 26 seconds, he shot Sansom, then shot Cardinal as the hunter was walking to his truck, said Kerr.

The Bilodeaus then drove away.

A motorist called RCMP after finding Sansom dead in the middle of the road and Cardinal’s body in a ditch.

Autopsies determined that Sansom was shot once in the chest and Cardinal was shot three times in his shoulder, said Kerr.

“These were in no way justified killings,” Kerr said.

“Anthony Bilodeau freely made the decision to arm himself and to join in a pursuit on a public highway, simply because his father had suspected somebody might be trying to steal from him.

“Roger Bilodeau clearly anticipated having a confrontation at the end of the chase, when he recruited his son Anthony Bilodeau into joining the pursuit and bringing a firearm.”

Defence lawyer Shawn Gerstel said Roger Bilodeau followed the hunters because a similar truck had gone onto his property earlier in the day while his wife was home alone. There were also concerns about property crime in the area.

Gerstel said Anthony Bilodeau shot at the hunters because Sansom had smashed a window of his father’s truck and punched his father multiple times.

“Along with the video, you will see the shirt that Roger wore that evening. The collar of Roger’s shirt is torn half off. Mr. Sansom’s blood was located on three distinct areas of Roger’s shirt,” Gerstel said.

“(Roger Bildoeau) asked for a gun for protection because he didn’t know who he was dealing with.”

Gerstel also said the hunters were drunk, loud and obnoxious. He said a medical examiner is to testify that Sansom had a blood alcohol level that was nearly threetimes the legal driving limit, and Cardinal’s blood alcohol limit was nearly two times the limit.

James Sansom testified he had never seen his brother miss a target during a hunt, and he was also a talented martial artist who was good at de-escalating situations.

The trial is to continue Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta man pleads guilty to killing woman and her 16-month-old son

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HINTON, Alta. — A registered sex offender accused of killing a mother and her 16-month-old son in western Alberta has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.

Robert Major entered the pleas at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Hinton, Alta., on Monday.

He also faced two counts of interfering with human remains, but Crown prosecutor Phil LeFeuvre said those charges are to be withdrawn.

Mchale Busch, 24, and her son, Noah McConnell, were found dead in an apartment complex in Hinton, about 250 kilometres west of Edmonton, on Sept. 17, 2021.

LeFeuvre, who read an agreed statement of facts in court, said Major killed them the day before.

Busch’s mutilated body was found face down in the bathtub of Major’s apartment, while Noah’s body was discovered in a dumpster at the apartment complex, LeFeuvre told the court.

“Mr. Major’s attack was sexually motivated,” he said. “Ms. Busch attempted to escape and defend herself.”

Busch, her son and her fiancé, Cody McConnell, had lived in the apartment next to Major’s, LeFeuvre said.

The family moved there three weeks before the killings.

“Ms. Busch and Mr. McConnell had moved to Hinton so Mr. McConnell could work in the area’s oil and gas sector,” LeFeuvre said. “Ms. Busch took care of Noah and managed the family’s home.”

Four years earlier, Edmonton police issued a warning about Major being released into the community. The warning at the time said there was a chance he could harm “a female, including children.”

Shortly after he was charged for killing Busch and Noah, RCMP said Major had not been subject to any recognizance conditions since July 2020.

LeFeuvre said Major had been living at the apartment in Hinton since October 2020.

GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.

“Mr. Major interfered with Ms. Busch’s body by cutting her open and removing various body parts,” he said.

“Moments after killing Ms. Busch, Mr. Major intentionally killed Noah McConnell by forcing a sock down his throat and tying a plastic bag over his head.”

Major’s three-day sentencing hearing is scheduled for November.

Justice Marta Burns said the sentencing is to be held at that time to await the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on the constitutionality of consecutive life sentences for multiple murders.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2022.

— By Daniela Germano in Edmonton

The Canadian Press

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