A jury has found a central Alberta man guilty of stabbing Arley Lagrelle to death during a fight outside a Sunchild First Nation store in 2018.
Evan Ernest Foureyes, of O’Chiese First Nation, was found guilty of second-degree murder for fatally stabbing Lagrelle, 23, once in the heart on the night of Nov. 9, 2018. The penalty for second-degree murder is automatic life imprisonment with no chance of parole for a minimum of 10 years.
Foureyes was also found guilty of kidnapping truck driver Alan Ciciarelli at riflepoint in the early hours of the morning after Lagrelle’s stabbing. Foureyes, who was holding a rifle, came up to Ciciarelli at Lodgepole, asked for a ride, and was eventually dropped off at the O’Chiese First Nation truck stop.
The jury found Foureyes not guilty of assault with a weapon for an altercation with Lagrelle’s sister, Jasyntha Littlejohn, that happened just after his stabbing.
Crown prosecutor Bruce Ritter said numerous witnesses saw Foureyes holding a knife at the time of the fight with Lagrelle. After the stabbing, he got back into the pickup he had been riding in and a witness testified that he admitted stabbing Lagrelle. Foureyes threw the knife out of the window of the truck as it drove away from the scene.
Ritter also dismissed the idea that another person at the fight outside the Sunchild store may have been the stabber given the difference in their height and other characteristics.
“This was not mistaken identity.”
Ritter also said a number of people saw him attack Littlejohn.
Foureyes’ trial began Oct. 12 at Red Deer’s Quality Inn and Conference Centre. It was held there to allow for physical distancing between jury members and to meet other COVID-19 protocols.
The deadly fight that saw Lagrelle fatally stabbed was the culmination of a confrontation that began earlier in the evening when Littlejohn testified that Foureyes challenged Lagrelle to fight outside a home she had driven to with her partner, brother and a friend as passengers.
That did not turn into an altercation and Littlejohn drove off with her passengers. Her vehicle as pursued by a pickup in which Foureyes was a passenger with several other people. Littlejohn’s SUV was rammed a number of times during a high-speed chase that ended at the Sunchild store.
Littlejohn said her brother and Foureyes got out of their vehicles and fought briefly before Lagrelle was stabbed and collapsed.
A lack of forensic evidence and unreliable witness testimony casts reasonable doubt that Evan Foureyes stabbed Arley Lagrelle to death in 2018 and he should be found not guilty, his defence lawyer said in closing submissions on Monday.
Lawyer Lynn Marie Rideout said most of the testimony the jury heard from eyewitnesses was self-serving and should not be trusted.
Foureyes took the stand in his own defence last week and his testimony that he did not fight or stab Lagrelle was credible, she said.