Lyle Bearspaw pleaded guilty on Thursday to second-degree murder in the August 2020 shooting death of Troy Beaverbones at O’Chiese First Nation. (Advocate file photo)

Lyle Bearspaw pleaded guilty on Thursday to second-degree murder in the August 2020 shooting death of Troy Beaverbones at O’Chiese First Nation. (Advocate file photo)

Guilty plea in 2020 O’Chiese First Nation shooting death

Lyle Bearspaw pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in shotgun killing

A man who fatally wounded a 27-year-old O’Chiese First Nation man in 2020 pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Thursday.

Lyle Bearspaw, 29, entered his plea in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench, where he was arraigned on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Troy Beaverbones, 23, on Aug. 26, 2020.

Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Crown Prosecutor Bina Border said Beaverbones was at an O’Chiese residence with several other people on the evening he was killed.

Beaverbones and Bearspaw, who had no fixed address, were sitting on a couch together when others in the home went out to the grocery store shortly before 8 p.m.

In the 15 to 20 minutes the others were away, a neighbour heard a “banging sound” coming from the residence. When the neighbour looked out, Beaverbones was crawling on the ground in front of the other house.

When the others returned, they found the badly wounded Beaverbones and asked him who did this to him. He said it was a Leon or Lyle, according to the statement of facts.

He confirmed that his attacker had been the man sitting next to him on the couch.

911 was called and an ambulance and police arrived around 8:40 p.m. Beaverbones was found lying on his side with visible wounds to his face, chest and abdomen.

A STARS air ambulance took Beaverbones to the University of Alberta Hospital around 10:20 p.m. He was pronounced dead at 11:25 p.m.

Later on Thursday night, RCMP were called to a break-in at the O’Chiese First Nation Community Centre. Police found Bearspaw sleeping on a stage. He had two shotgun shells in his pocket and a Mossberg shotgun was found nearby.

Bearspaw was arrested and told he was being charged with murder.

RCMP investigators searched the scene of the shooting and found a vodka bottle. An analysis showed fingerprints on the bottle belonged to Bearspaw.

An autopsy determined Beaverbones’ death was caused by multiple gunshot wounds. Shotgun pellets were found in his face, right chest, shoulder and liver area.

Bearspaw’s lawyer requested that a Gladue Report and a mental health assessment focusing on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) be prepared ahead of sentencing. The assessment could take up to six months.

The case is to return to court for an update on the progress of the assessment on Oct. 3.



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