Photo: The Canadian Press
Jake (Jacob) Sansom (left) and his uncle Morris (Maurice) Cardinal are shown in a photo on the “Justice for Jake and Morris” Facebook page.
A father and son accused of killing two Métis hunters took justice into their own hands when they were chased down a rural Alberta road, shot and left to die, a Crown prosecutor told the court on Thursday.
Jordan Kerr said that Roger and Anthony Bilodeau were angry because they thought the two hunters were trying to rob them and wanted to kill them for it.
The Bilodeaus face two counts each of second-degree murder in the deaths of Jacob Sansom, who was 39, and his uncle Maurice Cardinal, who was 57. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.
“You knew you weren’t acting legally when you shot those two men, right?” Kerr asked Anthony Bilodeau during cross-examination.
“I believed that our lives were in danger and I was very afraid that these men were going to kill us,” Bilodeau replied.
The trial heard a recorded interview between an RCMP officer and Anthony Bilodeau on March 31, 2020, four days after the shooting near Glendon, Alta., about 200 miles northeast of Edmonton.
On the recording, Bilodeau tells Sgt. Christian Reister that he did not shoot the hunters and that he knew nothing about their deaths.
The court also heard that Bilodeau, 33, received a call from his father and younger brother, Joseph Bilodeau, on the night of March 27, 2020, saying they were following a truck they thought had been in their yard. Joseph Bilodeau, then 16, had seen a blue Chevy pickup earlier that day.
The jury was told that the teen and his father got into a truck to follow the other truck, so they could ask people what they were doing. The teen testified that the vehicle they were following that night turned out to be a white Dodge pickup.
Anthony Bilodeau has said he was home when he got the phone call to bring a gun and catch up with his father and brother in case they needed protection from people in the Dodge.
“You could have told him, ‘Dad, this is ridiculous. Overturn. We’re calling the police,’” Kerr told Anthony Bilodeau.
“I didn’t think of that at the time,” he replied.
Bilodeau has testified that his cell phone was still connected to a Bluetooth speaker in his father’s truck when he heard banging and the sound of a window breaking. The window of Roger Bilodeau’s Ford F-150 was pierced before he and his son were allegedly attacked inside, the jury heard.
Kerr asked Anthony Bilodeau if it was possible that people were upset because they had just been chased down the road in the dark in an isolated area.
“I thought it might be a possibility,” he replied.
He said he showed up at a rural intersection where his father and brother were stopped and was able to see one of the hunters strangling his father.
He added that he wasn’t sure if that person had a gun, so he quickly loaded his own rifle and got out of his truck with it.
From the witness stand, Anthony Bilodeau, with both hands, demonstrated how he said the man was choking his father.
Kerr pointed out that the man could not be holding a gun if both hands were strangling Roger Bilodeau.
“So no one visible to you had a firearm,” Kerr said.
“That is correct,” Bilodeau said.
“You’re the first person to introduce a weapon in this situation, right?” asked the Crown.
“Yes,” Bilodeau replied.
Kerr said Anthony Bilodeau shot Sansom “point blank” in the chest.
Anthony Bilodeau has testified that both men were coming towards him. After shooting Sansom, he said, Cardinal approached him with a gun and threatened to kill him in retaliation.
Bilodeau said at that point he ran to the side of the road and shot Cardinal once in the shoulder.
By then, Roger Bilodeau had turned his truck around and Anthony Bilodeau could have gotten in and gone, Kerr said.
Instead, Kerr said, Anthony Bilodeau walked up to Cardinal, who was hunched over the side of the Dodge, and shot him a second time and then a third time when he was already on the ground.
Anthony Bilodeau said the man told him he was going to kill him.
“That’s a lie,” Kerr said. “He never told you that when you came back in that Dodge truck. He was physically unable to tell you. He was dying.”
The court heard that Cardinal was found without a weapon by his side. Instead, there was one unloaded in the rear passenger seat near where Cardinal had been standing.
A photo of evidence presented to Anthony Bilodeau showed that the gun did not have a magazine. The photo also showed that the clip was under a bag.
Anthony Bilodeau testified that after the shooting, he cut his gun into four or five pieces, took a set of lights from the bumper of his truck and disposed of the items separately.
He said he didn’t remember talking to his father or brother about reporting the shooting to police.
Anthony Bilodeau has said he destroyed evidence and lied to police because he was afraid of going to jail to protect his family.