“Callous and cowardly:” Alberta woman who shot husband sentenced to 18 years

“Callous and cowardly:” Alberta woman who shot husband sentenced to 18 years

EDMONTON — An Alberta woman who admitted to shooting her husband and dumping his body in a slough has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Helen Naslund, 56, pleaded guilty in March to manslaughter in the September 2011 shooting of 49-year-old Miles Naslund on a farm near Holden, Alta.

The couple’s son, Neil Naslund, 28, pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to human remains. He was sentenced in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench Friday to three years in prison.

They were both initially charged with first-degree murder and offering an indignity to human remains.

“Most people who are charged with criminal offences … aren’t evil people, they’re not bad people. They’re people who make mistakes,” Justice Sterling Sanderman said as he accepted the joint sentencing recommendations from the Crown prosecutor and defence lawyers.

“They then have to pay for the manner in which they overreacted.”

An agreed statement of facts submitted in March says there was a domineering pattern of abuse in the marriage on the part of Miles Naslund toward his wife.

Helen Naslund feared for her safety, but didn’t want to leave out of concern for her children and because of the depression she suffered, the facts say. Both husband and wife had problems with alcohol, court heard.

The agreed facts say Helen Naslund shot her husband twice in the back of his head with a .22-calibre pistol when he was in bed.

The statement of facts say she and her son put the body in a metal box and used a boat to dump it in a swampy area. They then threw the gun in a dugout and buried the victim’s car in a farmer’s field.

Court heard the mother and son contacted two other sons in the family to tell them what had happened. They all agreed that they would say Myles Naslund was missing.

One of the sons later told friends that he had a family secret and explained what really happened to his father, say the statement of facts.

Police had initially treated Myles Naslund as a missing person, but began a homicide investigation after receiving a tip. Investigators, with the help of a dive team, found his remains on the farm southeast of Edmonton in 2017 — six years after he disappeared.

During Friday’s sentencing hearing the judge called it a tragic situation.

“We have a 56-year-old mother and her son who are going to lose their liberty for a period of time. They are going to lose their liberty because they did something terrible, but that’s the only terrible thing they’ve done in their lives,” said Sanderman.

Still, he said there were aggravating features in the case.

“This was a callous, cowardly act on a vulnerable victim in his own home … by a partner,” he said. “A firearm was used.

“Then the authorities were sent on a wild-goose chase.”

Sanderman said the Naslunds have taken responsibility for their actions.

“I have empathy for the two of you,” he said, “but this requires a stern sentence.”

Both will receive a four-month credit for time served in custody or under house arrest.

They will each need to submit a DNA sample to go into a national databank. Helen Naslund will also be subject to a lifetime firearms prohibition once she is released from prison.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020.

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced more than 1,500 active cases in Alberta Monday afternoon and five additional deaths. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
COVID-19: Red Deer at 141 active cases

Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer area seniors facility pauses visits after staff tests positive for COVID

A Red Deer County seniors facility has put the breaks on visitors… Continue reading

Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Alberta confirmed 1,584 COVID-19 cases Sunday afternoon. The total active cases went… Continue reading

Hockey Canada logo at an event in Toronto on November 1, 2017. A “non-core member” of Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team staff has tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Hockey Canada staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Red Deer

A “non-core member” of Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team staff has tested… Continue reading

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses after responding to a question about the holidays during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau joins G20 in promising COVID-19 aid to poor nations, rejecting protectionism

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined leaders from the world’s 20… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The federal bill revising the rules on medically assisted death in Canada has raised the ire of the Canadian Psychiatric Association over the proposed law’s explicit rejection of mental illness as grounds for ending a patient’s life. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental illness in assisted dying-bill slammed by psychiatrists

OTTAWA — The federal bill revising the rules on medically assisted death… Continue reading

The Quebec flag is seen on the podium as Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet responds to a question during a news conference Wednesday June 3, 2020 in Ottawa. Perennial anxieties around the state of the French language in Quebec have boiled over in the past week, with politicians seizing on a Liberal MP’s initial brush-off of the issue as evidence of indifference to a crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Angst around French language boils over in Quebec, as politicians warn of ‘decline’

MONTREAL — Perennial anxieties around the state of the French language in… Continue reading

Numuch Keitlah, left, and Jake Thomas, centre, participate in a Coastal Nations search and rescue exercise off the coast of Vancouver Island in this undated handout photo. The recently operational Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary has more than 50 members from five Indigenous territories who are trained in marine search and rescue. They are on call day and night to respond to emergencies along some of B.C.’s most rugged and remote coastal areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Jordan Wilson *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Canada’s first Indigenous-led coast guard auxiliary patrols B.C.’s rugged coast

VICTORIA — The winds were gusting at 110 kilometres per hour and… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has sponsored the VanVleet Court at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, Ill. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Fred VanVleet signs four-year, US$85-million deal with Toronto Raptors

TORONTO — Fred VanVleet, one of the most coveted players in free… Continue reading

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
‘Hardship is not a new thing:’ Nunavut fights COVID-19 as cases continue to rise

IQALUIT — It has been just over two weeks since Nunavut declared… Continue reading

Pedestrians walk past Pfizer world headquarters in New York on Monday Nov. 9, 2020. Despite recent optimism over reported results from COVID-19 vaccine trials,<br>Two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have recently announced they're developed COVID-19 vaccines that are 95 per cent effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Bebeto Matthews
A long way from lab bench to bedside: Virus experts urge COVID-19 vaccine caution

Despite recent optimism over reported results from COVID-19 vaccine trials, virologists say… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
After COVID-related transplant delays, 16-year-old N.S. girl gets lung transplant

‘This is the difficult time now of seeing Tahlia in ICU hooked up to 15 IVs and sedated’

Most Read