Photo: The Canadian Press
Jake (Jacob) Sansom (left) and his uncle Morris (Maurice) Cardinal are shown in a handout photo from the ‘Justice for Jake and Morris’ Facebook page. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Justice for Jake and Morris
A man on trial for killing two Métis fighters testified that he cut his weapon, threw it in a garbage dump and lied to police about his involvement in the shooting for fear of going to jail for shooting himself and protect his family.
Anthony Bilodeau, 33, pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Jacob Sansom, 39, and Maurice Cardinal, 57, northeast of Edmonton.
Bilodeau’s father, Roger Bilodeau, has also pleaded not guilty to the same charges.
A jury heard that Sansom was shot once in the chest and Cardinal three times in the shoulder. Their bodies were found the next day by the side of a rural road near Glendon, Alta.
Prosecutors have argued that the killings were in no way justified. They said in security footage Anthony Bilodeau shot Sansom within 26 seconds of arriving at the scene and then shot Cardinal as the fighter ran away.
The trial heard a taped interview between an RCMP officer and Anthony Bilodeau on March 31, 2020 – four days after the shooting.
In the recording, Bilodeau tells Sgt. Christian Reiser that he did not shoot the fighters and knew nothing about their deaths.
Brian Beresh, Bilodeau’s attorney, asked him on Wednesday why he lied to police and disposed of the weapon.
“I was scared. I didn’t know the laws of self-defense,” Bilodeau said.
“I was afraid of going to jail because I would protect my family.”
Bilodeau testified that he was exhausted, worked as a heavy-duty mechanic, and was awake most nights for nearly a month helping with calving on his farm.
He said that on the night of March 27, 2020, he received a call from his father and younger brother, Joseph Bilodeau. They said they were following a pickup truck that had stopped at the mouth of the driveway to their property before pulling away.
Joseph Bilodeau, who is now 18 and has not been charged, testified last week that earlier in the day he had also seen a blue Chevrolet pickup on his parents’ farm and suspected that the one they were following was a white Dodge truck, had something to do with it.
Anthony Bilodeau, who lived nearby, said he was asked to bring a gun for protection and catch up with his father and brother. But he said he had no intention of using the weapon.
Bilodeau said his father told him over the phone, “We’ve got them, you have to come here.”
He testified that he asked his father what he was talking about. “That’s when (Roger Bilodeau) said, ‘We caught the thieves, they came back. You have to come here.’”
Bilodeau and his younger brother have both stated that there was an increase in thefts in the Glendon area, although their homes had not been hit.
However, he told the lawsuit that $15,000 worth of tools had been stolen from his father’s truck repair shop a few years earlier and that the police did not respond. Bilodeau said he went to the police station to report the theft.
Bilodeau testified that before getting into his truck to meet his father and brother, he took a pistol and some ammunition from his safe.
“I believed that these guys were armed, that they had weapons and were going to use them,” Bilodeau said.
Bilodeau said he was still on the line with his father and brother when their truck pulled up next to the pickup truck they were following.
He said he heard his father asking the people in the other truck what they were doing in his yard. Then there were several banging noises and the creaking of a window.
The court heard that one of the fighters allegedly smashed and smashed the passenger window of Roger Bilodeau’s Ford F-150.
“At that point I knew I had to get there because I knew they were in trouble and I had to help,” Anthony Bilodeau testified.
He said he heard his younger brother yell at someone to get off him and leave him alone. Bilodeau said he then heard someone tell him to take a knife to kill them.
Bilodeau said he was beginning to worry that he wouldn’t make it in time to save his father and brother. “I was devastated… I was wiping tears on the way.”
When he pulled up to where his father’s vehicle had stopped next to a Dodge pickup, Bilodeau said he saw a man strangling his father.
He said he loaded his gun, got out and said, “Hey, that’s enough.”
Bilodeau said the man who choked his father rushed at him while yelling at another man to grab a gun so they could kill him.
He said he shot that man while the other also came at him with “a very large firearm” which he held to his chest.
Bilodeau said his gun was jammed, so he ran into a ditch before he could free it and shoot the second man, who then aimed a gun at him.
Bilodeau said he shot him twice more after the man repeated that he was going to kill him.
Bilodeau said he and his father and brother then went home.
The trial is expected to continue Thursday with a cross-examination of Bilodeau by prosecutors.