October 22nd, 2020

Man to be tried for manslaughter in death of Blood Reserve man

By Shurtz, Delon on October 29, 2019.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald


A 38-year-old man accused of killing another man last year on the Blood Reserve no longer faces a charge of second-degree murder, and he’ll no longer be tried by a judge and jury.

During a brief hearing Monday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, the Crown replaced the murder charge against Stanley Big Sorrel Horse with a charge of manslaughter and defence re-elected to have the accused tried by a judge alone. The trial dates didn’t change, however, and Big Sorrel Horse is still scheduled to stand trial for two weeks next March.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on Feb. 23, 2018, Blood Tribe Police responded to a report of a man in distress. Rance Bearhat, 26, was taken to the hospital but pronounced dead, and RCMP Major Crimes South took over what was determined to be a murder investigation.

The accused’s brother, Justin Big Sorrel Horse, was also charged with second-degree murder, but his charge was stayed by the Crown last October, one day before he was scheduled to appear in court. While a stay of proceeding prevents any further action on a prosecution, the charge can be reinstated within a year of the stay.

Alberta Justice previously said in a prepared statement, even though the brothers were charged on the basis of initial evidence obtained by investigators, the Crown’s office reviewed the evidence and later determined there isn’t a reasonable likelihood of conviction of Justin Big Sorrel Horse.

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