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Man charged in death of Métis men confessed to police; trial continues

“We just made a bad judgment call. Should have phoned right off the hop … it’d have been a lot less than what it is now," said Roger Bilodeau about not calling the RCMP the night two Métis men were shot to death on a northeastern Alberta roadway.

Roger Bilodeau confessed to being involved in the deaths of two Métis men, just hours after he claimed to be innocent, according to RCMP interviews played in an Edmonton courtroom Thursday and Friday. 

Bilodeau, 58, is charged with second degree murder along with his son Anthony Bilodeau, 33, stemming from the shooting death of Jacob Sansom 39, and Maurice Cardinal, 57, on the evening on Saturday, March 28, 2020 near Glendon. 

Lawyers for the two accused claim their clients acted in self-defence. 

Their Court of Queen’s Bench trial began on May 16 and is expected to last 10 days. 

The third and fourth days of the trial took place last Thursday and Friday, with a jury hearing about Roger Bilodeau’s first contact with police and subsequent interviews in the days following the shooting. 

Court heard that Bilodeau was first interviewed by police on March 31, 2020, where he claimed to be innocent.  

But just hours after that interview, the jury heard Bilodeau went back to Bonnyville RCMP detachment to give more details on what happened the night  Sansom and Cardinal were killed. 

During his first statement to RCMP when police came to his property in their initial investigation, Bilodeau claimed he didn’t know much about the deaths of Sansom and Cardinal, but added his 16-year-old son, Joseph, had seen a blue vehicle in their yard around 10:30 a.m. on March 27, 2020. Bilodeau said he hadn’t heard anything on the night the men were shot, and when shown a picture of the two victims, he claimed he had never seen them before. 

Then 10 minutes later, while the RCMP vehicle was still on his property, Bilodeau asked the officer into the family garage and gave a different version of events. He went to the RCMP detachment in Bonnyville three hours later to give a formal statement to Sgt. Christian Reister on camera, confessing to his involvement in the deaths. 

'Bad judgment call'

Bilodeau said the night the men were shot, his family saw lights from a vehicle pull into the edge of the family driveway off the roadway and then drive off.

In earlier court testimony, the wife of one of the victims said her husband had been hunting with his uncle prior to the confrontation with the Bilodeaus.

With his 16-year-old son Joseph, Bilodeau jumped into his truck and chased the other vehicle down the road.  Bilodeau and Joseph followed the Dodge pickup south down the range road, and the pickup abruptly stopped and reversed direction on the road. The Bilodeaus turned around and continued to follow the other truck. 

Bilodeau used a cell phone to call his older son Anthony as he and Joseph were following the truck. Bilodeau testified he told Anthony he thought the men in the truck were “aiming to steal something out of our yard.” Anthony jumped in his truck and drove to the area where his brother and father were. At about the same time, court heard, the two vehicles had reached a stop sign where Bilodeau pulled in front of the other truck, something he said during court evidence, “was stupid.” 

One of the other men got out of the vehicle and started banging on the passenger side of the vehicle damaging the window, Bilodeau said. 

“Then, Joe started kicking him, and then the other guy came on my side and opened my door because I didn’t have it locked,” Bilodeau said.  

The other man came to the driver's side of the vehicle, Bilodeau said, tearing his shirt and he heard him say, “Get a knife, let’s kill both these sons of bitches.” 

Court heard that Anthony arrived shortly after and heard the men running towards him saying, “I’m going to kill you.” 

One of the men had a rifle, Bilodeau said, and then Anthony shot them both.  

Bilodeau said he told Anthony they should call the RCMP, but Anthony wanted to “not do anything.” 

“Neither one of us knew what to do,” said Bilodeau, admitting the decision made matters worse. “We just made a bad judgment call — should have phoned right off the hop… it’d have been a lot less than what it is now.” 

Stranger alert 

Bilodeau’s testimony claimed that rural residents are scared when people are driving up and down their roads.  

"They’re all armed and they’re all dangerous, and we’re not supposed to do anything,” Bilodeau said. “That’s our new norm." 

Following the shooting, the three Bilodeaus went home and didn’t call the police until the next day, after Bilodeau’s wife urged him to. 

The 10-day trial into the shooting deaths of Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal will continue this week.  

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Great West Media based in St. Albert, Alta.
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