Two Morley men were handed nine-year prison terms Monday for the “savage” beating death of a fellow resident.
Deangelo Powderface and John Stephens each pleaded guilty to reduced charges of manslaughter in connection with the New Year’s Day 2017 killing of Lorenzo Bearspaw.
Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Glen Poelman accepted a joint submission from Crown and defence lawyers for the nine-year term.
Poelman noted the killing appeared to be a senseless act triggered by a relatively innocuous comment by Bearspaw towards one of his assailants’ girlfriend.
That assailant, Ralph Stephens, was never brought to justice as he was killed after firing at Mounties who showed up at his home on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation days after the attack on Bearspaw to arrest him.
“The only motive for the savage beating appears to have been some remarks made by Mr. Bearspaw that, for whatever reason, these two accused felt gave them a licence to commit this brutal act,” Poelman said, after reviewing a statement of agreed facts detailing the crime.
In that court exhibit, signed by prosecutors Doug Simpson and Deanna Dahlseide Hasse and defence lawyers Eleanor Funk and James Wyman, the two killers admitted attacking Bearspaw at a New Year’s party.
The attack followed a snide remark by Bearspaw about the clothing worn by Ingrid Powderface, Ralph Stephens’ girlfriend and Deangelo Powderface’s sister.
The alcohol- and drug-fuelled assault by the trio, who were armed with two baseball bats, a pair of brass knuckles and a shotgun, was particularly vicious, Poelman noted.
“Witnesses described hearing Bearspaw’s bones crack,” the court exhibit said.
“Bearspaw received multiple blows to his head, body and legs.”
After the initial assault, during which one of the two bats broke, Bearspaw was dragged from the residence where the party was held and driven away.
“Bearspaw’s face was swollen and bloody and he was making ‘gurgling’ noises,” said the court exhibit. “Bearspaw was curled up, leaning forward against the seat, bloody, and begging for his life.”
They drove to a field near some trees and the three killers got out of the truck with their victim “who was described as looking like a ‘crippled deer.’