July 20th, 2024

Accused in Tailfeathers death expected to plead guilty

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 15, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Fort Macleod woman who, with two others, was charged with second-degree murder in the brutal death of Lane Tailfeathers in the summer of 2021, could plead guilty to a lesser charge when her case returns to court next month.

Miranda Mae Turuk, whose matter was in Lethbridge court of justice Thursday, is expected to follow in the footsteps of the two co-accused and plead guilty to manslaughter during her next court hearing in April.

Richard William Lavell, 45, pleaded guilty to the same charge on Monday for his role in Tailfeathers’ death, and Randy Lee Giroux, 42, pleaded guilty the week before. Both men were sentenced to a prison term of just under three years, minus the equivalent amount of time they spent in pre-disposition custody, which concluded their sentences.

Court was previously told that on the evening of June 20, 2021, Tailfeathers was at a residence in the 300 block of 20 Street in Fort Macleod with Turuk and the co-accused, as well as Travis Holy White Man, who wanted to give Tailfeathers a beating to send a message to Tailfeathers’ cousin about a drug debt. Holy White Man enlisted the help of Turuk, Giroux and Lavell, who beat Tailfeathers to death.

While Lavell held Tailfeathers in a headlock, Giroux struck him multiple times in the head, and Turuk struck him in the body and head with a small bat.

“The beating resulted in Lane Tailfeathers bleeding profusely,” Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox said during the sentencing hearings for Giroux and Lavell. “At some point during, or shortly after the beating, Lane Tailfeathers died as a result of the beating.”

Two other individuals, Edward Alexander Goodrich and Michelle Lee Toth, were also charged in connection to Tailfeathers’s violent death. They were charged with accessory to murder and interfering with a dead body, but pleaded guilty only to the latter charge.

Goodrich pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to one year in jail, for which he was given credit for time spent in pre-disposition custody, completing his sentence. Toth also pleaded guilty to interfering with a death body; however, Calgary lawyer Andre Oullette said while Toth agrees with the facts presented in court, the defence and Crown have not agreed on a sentence, and the matter was adjourned until later in the month to schedule a date for a contested sentencing hearing.

Tailfeathers’ body was wrapped in a tarp and the bloody carpet that had been on the floor of the residence, and the body was taken to a detached garage on the property. Goodrich and Toth were recruited to help clean up the blood and dispose of the body.

While Goodrich disposed of garbage bags filled with the blood-soaked rags in a dumpster in Fort Macleod, Toth and Giroux drove to the Crowsnest Pass and rolled the body down a rocky embankment on a private gravel road northwest of Lundbreck Falls.

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