July 23rd, 2024

Sentencing hearing set for man who killed teen

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on June 25, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A sentencing hearing has finally been scheduled for a 41-year-old Brocket man who was found guilty of stabbing a 16-year-old boy to death nearly four years ago.

The hearing for Dustin Big Bull, who was convicted last October of second-degree murder and causing an indignity to human remains in the death of Tregan Crow Eagle, is set to go ahead later this year.

A sentencing date was expected to be set last January, but a Gladue Report ordered following Big Bull’s conviction had not been completed and the matter was adjourned to March 11 to check on the status of the report. The Gladue report provides the court with information about Big Bull’s indigenous background and personal circumstances to help the judge determine a fit sentence.

The case was adjourned again, but Monday in Lethbridge Court of King’s Bench the sentencing hearing to hear Crown and defence submissions was finally confirmed for Sept. 19-20.

Big Bull testified during his trial last September that he became drunk July 22, 2020 while drinking “home brew” at a house in Brocket, and after he and his girlfriend left to walk to his house, Crow Eagle followed them. When they arrived at Big Bull’s house, and Crow Eagle followed them inside, Big Bull punched him in the face, threw him against a table then repeatedly struck him until he lost consciousness.

Big Bull and his girlfriend left the bleeding boy lying on the floor and went to the other house where he continued to drink alcohol and consume drugs. An hour or more later they returned to his own house, and as they walked through his yard he saw Crow Eagle stan ding under a tree. Big Bull testified that Crow Eagle approached him, and when the two were only about five feet apart, he noticed Crow Eagle was holding a knife at his side, so he pulled out his own knife and stabbed him twice in the neck and three times in the torso.

During closing arguments on Sept. 28, Calgary lawyer Andre Ouellette acknowledged his client pulled out a knife and stabbed the much younger and smaller boy, but said it was in self defence.

Madam Justice Johanna Price said during her decision that even though there was an “air of reality of self defence” Big Bull’s reaction was unreasonable and disproportionate to any threat he may have felt from the victim. Price noted Big Bull was extremely intoxicated by alcohol and drugs at the time, but his own testimony suggested he was not so intoxicated that he didn’t know what he was doing.

Crow Eagle’s body was found in a small thicket of shrubs near the wastewater pond on the Piikani Nation five days after he was killed. The body, discovered during a search by family and friends, was covered by a blue tarp, and was near the garbage dump about half a kilometre east of the Brocket townsite.

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