Murder suspect found fit to stand trial

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 has been found fit to stand trial.

That was the result of a psychiatric assessment for Starr Frederick Sasakamoose Jr. reported in High Prairie Court of Justice July 24.

“He was found fit to stand trial,” said Crown prosecutor Adriene Shapka, who spoke as an agent for Crown prosecutor Kelly Payne, the prosecutor leading the case.

The matter was set over to Aug. 21 after Justice S.P. Hinkley ordered a 28-day extension for another assessment in Alberta Hospital to determine if Sasakamoose is not criminally responsible for the death of his father, Starr Felix Sasakamoose, 43.

Justice J.K. Sihra initially ordered the NCR assessment June 26.

Sasakamoose Jr. was 26 when he was charged.

At the first appearance April 17, lawyer Harry Jong told court that Sasakamoose Jr. and his family requested that the accused wanted a psychiatric assessment.

“They say he does suffer from schizophrenia and sometimes goes into psychotic episodes,” Jong said as he spoke in court April 17.

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.

As is typical in such cases, 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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