Man who wounded toddler changes plea

A Hobbema teenager will be sentenced in about two months for wounding a toddler in a drive-by shooting last year.

A Hobbema teenager will be sentenced in about two months for wounding a toddler in a drive-by shooting last year.

Christopher Shane Crane, 19, pleaded guilty on Monday to shooting two-year-old Asia Saddleback on April 13, 2008, on the Hobbema reserve.

Crane was to start a trial in Wetaskiwin court but changed his plea.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, robbery using a firearm, using a firearm while committing a crime and knowingly possessing an unauthorized firearm.

Crane, who has been in custody since his arrest 11 months ago, will be sentenced on May 28.

The maximum sentence for aggravated assault is 14 years in jail.

The robbery charges is from a separate incident, on April 8, 2008, in Hobbema.

Several other charges against Crane are expected to be withdrawn at the sentence hearing.

The shooting on April 13, which was related to an ongoing drug war on the reserve, shocked people across the province and outraged elders and residents on the reserve, which is home to about 12,000 people.

In an agreed statement of facts, court heard that Crane was riding in a car with two other people when he fired a shot at a home.

The bullet went through a wall of the home, belonging to the victim’s grandfather, and struck the girl.

The family was sitting down to supper at the time.

The child was shot in the abdomen and the bullet remains lodged about one cm from her heart, court heard on Monday.

A reserve-wide meeting was called a few days after the shooting and elders imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on all people aged 12 to 17.

A co-accused in the shooting, who was 16 at the time of the offence, was sentenced earlier this year to an additional 60 days in closed custody followed by 30 days of supervised custody and a year of probation.

The youth can’t be identified because of provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

He had been in custody for about nine months when he pleaded guilty in Wetaskiwin youth court.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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