Murder suspect asks for psychiatric assessment

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A young Driftpile Cree Nation man charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of his father April 10 made his first appearance in court.

Starr Frederick Sasakamoose Jr., 26, appeared in High Prairie Court of Justice April 17. He was charged in connection with the death of his father, Starr Felix Sasakamoose, 43.

Harry Jong was retained as lawyer.

“I spoke with him and some of his family,” Jong says.

“He would like to go to Alberta Hospital for a psychiatric assessment to see if he’s fit to stand trial,” Jong says.

His family also wants him to go.

“They say he does suffer from schizophrenia and sometimes goes into psychotic episodes,” Jong says.

However, neither Justice G.K.W. Thietke nor Crown prosecutor Kelly Payne knew for sure if the justice in the Court of Justice has authority to make an application for a psychiatric assessment or whether it’s in the jurisdiction of the Court of King’s Bench.

Thietke adjourned the matter to May 1 to consider an application for a psychiatric assessment.

Crown says complete disclosure will take about one month to finalize.

“There’s substantial disclosure,” Payne says.

Lakeshore Regional Police Service reported that officers responded to a report of a deceased individual at a residence on the reserve on the day of the incident about 6:45 p.m.

Police arrested an occupant of the house and contacted the RCMP.

Alberta RCMP Major Crimes Unit was dispatched to the scene to assist with the investigation.

The cause of death was not revealed by police.

After the incident, Sasakamoose Jr. was later taken before a justice of the peace and remanded to appear in court April 17.

Police will make no further comment on the issue because the matter is before the court.

Sasakamoose Sr. was re-elected to Driftpile Cree Nation council as a councillor in the election Dec. 19, 2022 with 235 votes.

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