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Former Manitoba principal sentenced to life for vigilante killings of drug dealers


WINNIPEG — A former Manitoba principal has been sentenced to life in prison for the vigilante killings of two drug dealers.

Claude Francis Guimond pleaded guilty in March to second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Jody Brown, 43, and Steven Chevrefils, 35.

Justice Brenda Keyser, after a joint recommendation from the defence and prosecution, said in sentencing Guimond earlier this month that the former principal for the Sagkeeng First Nation will have no chance of parole for 14 years. 

RCMP were called to a home in St-Georges, about 120 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, in February 2017 and found both men had been fatally shot.

Court heard the two men and a few others were in the home, which had a grow-op in the basement, were having drinks and doing drugs. A man with his face painted black came in and went to the basement to confront Brown and Chevrefils.

A witness testified she heard loud bangs coming from the basement before she was struck in the head by a bullet that had ricocheted. Court heard Brown was found lying dead at the bottom of the stairs. Chevrefils had been left dead on the kitchen floor after a brief struggle with the assailant.

Guimond was initially interviewed as a potential witness but denied having prior contact with the two men. However, investigators linked DNA found at the crime scene to Guimond.

Later, while in custody, he admitted to family over a phone which had been wiretapped by police that he had been at the house that night.

The former principal acknowledged in court that he was extremely drunk when he went to the home. He said his goal was to confront and scare Brown and Chevrefils over their drug dealing.

"He was distressed as two of his daughters were addicted to drugs and he felt that the RCMP had not done anything to curb the action of drug dealers in the area," Keyser wrote in her judgment delivered April 2.

Court heard how Guimond went to a residential day school and his parents and grandparents were residential school survivors.

"Despite the effects of colonialism on his family and community, he was long considered a role model in the community," the judge wrote.

Guimond served three years in the military and worked in education for 24 years, both as a teacher and then as a principal, until early 2017, when he went on leave to care for his terminally ill wife. She died a few months before his arrest in 2018.

While Guimond expressed remorse for what he did, the judge said he had devastated everyone involved.

"The consequences of his actions that fateful night are devastating for his family as well as for the families of Brown and Chevrefils."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2020

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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