October 24th, 2020

Man sentenced to five years for robbery and sex assault

By Shurtz, Delon on December 7, 2019.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald


A southern Alberta man who assaulted and robbed an elderly woman in her home last December has been sent to a federal penitentiary.

Riley Mistaken Chief, 27, was sentenced to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty Friday in Lethbridge provincial court to charges of attempted sexual assault with a weapon, break and enter and commit robbery with a weapon, use or trafficking of a stolen credit card, and breaching conditions of previous release orders.

On Dec. 17 Mistaken Chief approached a 70-year-old woman who was outside her Cardston home and getting ready to drive to Lethbridge. Mistaken Chief asked to use her phone, and she let him use her cordless phone while he stood outside the home and she remained inside.

Court was told it appeared to the woman that Mistaken Chief was not really making a phone call, and he asked her several questions, about whether she lived alone. She lied and said her son was home.

Mistaken Chief said he forgot the phone number of the person he was trying to reach, and when the woman opened her door to retrieve her phone, he forced his way in, pulled out a knife and demanded money. She gave him $20 from her purse, then he ordered her to take off her pants, but she refused.

The intruder pushed her to the ground, and even though she tried to fight back and even managed to flee for a short distance, he caught her near the back door, dragged her back by the hair and pulled off her pants.

Crown prosecutor Dawn Janecke said the terrified woman thought she was going to die and, as Mistaken Chief choked her, she played dead. When she went limp Mistaken Chief dropped her to the ground then left to grab her purse. That’s when she fled to her neighbour’s house and called 911.

When police arrived shortly afterward, Mistaken Chief had already left with the woman’s purse and her minivan. Police were able to track him when he used the woman’s credit card, and discovered he had used it several times, including at a gas station. He was identified when police reviewed the business’s surveillance video.

Police tracked him to Fort Macleod and later to Standoff where he was found and arrested. Three people with him told police Mistaken Chief said the minivan belonged to his grandmother.

The victim was taken to the Cardston hospital and treated for injuries, including a broken finger. That finger, Janecke said, didn’t heal properly and had to be rebroken.

“This was very stressful for her,” Janecke said.

She pointed out that while the elderly woman still struggles to feel comfortable in her own home, and for several months had to have someone stay with her, she’s not going to let what happen to her change how she lives her life.

Although the matter was set for trial next year, Lethbridge lawyer Claudia Connolly said Mistaken Chief always planned to resolve the charges and didn’t want to make his victim testify in court and suffer more.

In addition to his prison sentence, for which he was credited nearly 18 months for time he has already spent in custody since his arrest, Mistaken Chief must make restitution to the woman in the amount of $2,000, and submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Database. He is also prohibited from possessing certain weapons for 10 years and others for life, and he must register with the national Sex Offender Information Registry for 20 years.

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