May 25th, 2024

Woman who helped beat man to death has served most of her sentence

By Lethbridge Herald on April 10, 2024.

Delon Shurtz
Lethbridge Herald

A 30-year-old Fort Macleod woman who helped beat Lane Tailfeathers to death nearly three years ago has received the same sentence as two men who also participated in the brutal and bloody beating.

Miranda Mae Turuk pleaded guilty Tuesday in Lethbridge court of justice to manslaughter, and was sentenced to 1,000 days – just under three years – in jail. She was given credit, however, for the equivalent of just over two years she spent in remand custody since her arrest several months after Tailfeathers’ death, which leaves her with seven months to serve.

Co-accused Randy Lee Giroux and Richard William Lavell received the same sentence last month, but they were given full credit for time they spent in remand custody, completing their sentences.

Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox said that on the evening of June 20, 2021, Tailfeathers was at a residence in the 300 block of 20 Street in Fort Macleod with several other people. 

One of the individuals, Travis Holy White Man, who has since died, wanted to give Tailfeathers a beating to send a message to Tailfeathers’ cousin about a drug debt, and he enlisted the help of Turuk, Giroux and Lavell.

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 Taifeathers bleeding profusely,” Fox said. “At some point during or shortly after the beating, Lane Tailfeathers died as a result of the beating.”

Fox said Turuk, Giroux and Lavell cleaned the area, and had to remove a carpet that had absorbed a significant amount of blood.

“Lane Tailfeathers’ body was wrapped in a tarp, which was then rolled up into the carpet that had been removed from the floor.”

Shortly after 5 a.m. the following day the victim’s body, still wrapped in the carpet, was taken to a detached garage on the property. 

Two other people, Edward Alexander Goodrich of Granum and Michelle Lee Toth of Claresholm, arrived to help clean up the blood and then help dispose of the body, which they did about five hours later.

“At approximately 10:40 a.m. on June 21, 2021, Randy Lee Giroux and Richard Lavell moved Lane Tailfeathers’ body from the garage to the hatchback of Michelle Toth’s Honda Accord. 

Approximately one hour later Randy Lee Giroux and Michelle Toth departed the residence in Fort Macleod and drove to a private gravel road northwest of Lundbreck Falls, where they unloaded the body of Lane Tailfeathers, still rolled up in tarp and the carpet.

 They disposed of the body by rolling it down a rocky embankment. The skeletal remains were located in the same spot where it had been disposed of.”

Fox noted the 33-month sentence is low for manslaughter, but appropriate given the circumstances of the case and the difficulties the Crown would have had proving its case had the matter gone to trial.

“It is important to understand that there was never an intention to kill him, the intention all along was to just give him a beating, but the beating went too far, and that was probably due to a number of factors, the number of individuals involved in the assault, drug use at the time.”

Calgary lawyer Shamsher Kothari told court his client is addicted to fentanyl and methamphetamine, and during much of her time waiting to deal with her charges she was in a women’s treatment facility. 

While in custody in Calgary, she was admitted to hospital for problems stemming from her use of methamphetamine and carfentanil, but she is doing better.

“I believe that at the end of the day the programming that she has been receiving while in custody and also while she was on release has assisted her in transitioning to a place where hopefully she’ll understand where her life should go,” Kothari said. “She’s not a youthful offender, but she is definitely in a position to change the future of her life.”

Tailfeathers’ mother, sister and daughter wrote victim impact statements to the court, and while they were not read allowed, Fox said they all expressed intense grief at losing Tailfeathers in such a violent manner.

“There is no sentence that this court can impose, there is nothing that anyone can say that can change the set of circumstances in which this family is going to move forward,” Fox said. “The loss cannot be replaced, the hurt cannot be alleviated but with time.”

Justice Greg  Maxwell agreed and tried to make Turuk understand the impact of her actions.

“I’m told you’re a mother, a parent, so you can only imagine the stark horror that you’d experience to find out that your child is deceased; but much more than  that, to find out that he was, by all accounts on the facts that I have, an innocent victim who was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Maxwell said.

“Your involvement in this was not passive. The circumstances as they were related to me dictate that you were actually a participant in the beating with a bat, and also a participant in the cleanup. To say this is a tragedy doesn’t really do it justice.”

Goodrich, who disposed of garbage bags filled with blood-soaked rags in a dumpster in Fort Macleod, pleaded guilty last month to a charge of interfering with a dead body. He was sentenced to one year in jail, but will not serve any more time in jail after being credited for time he spent in remand custody.

Toth also pleaded guilty last month to the same charge, but 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.

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Don’t commit murder unless ur addicted and plead a tough upbringing and life, Then u get charged with manslaughter and get sentenced to 1,000 days for taking another human beings life. What a screwed up justice system we have. George

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