April 24th, 2024

May sentencing set for woman who helped dispose of body

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 26, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Claresholm woman who helped get rid of Lane Tailfeathers’ body following his brutal beating nearly three years ago, is set to be sentenced later this spring.

Michelle Lee Toth pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge of interfering with a dead body, and while she agreed with the facts that were presented in court on March 14, the defence and Crown did not agree on a sentencing recommendation for the judge, and the matter was adjourned to schedule sentencing. The hearing, during which the Crown and defence are expected to argue their recommendations for a sentence, is set for the end of May.

Toth is accused with four other individuals, three of whom also pleaded guilty to their charges and have been sentenced.

Richard William Lavell, 45, and Randy Lee Giroux, 42, pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter, and 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.

Edward Alexander Goodrich of Granum pleaded guilty to interfering with a dead body and was sentenced to one year in jail. He was also given credit for time spent in pre-disposition custody, which completed his sentence.

Miranda Mae Turuk of Fort Macleod, whose matter was also in court earlier this month, is expected to plead guilty to manslaughter during her next court hearing in April.

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 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.”

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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