Further assessment for murder suspect

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 will get a few more weeks to find out if he will go to trial.

Starr Frederick Sasakamoose Jr. continues to be assessed in Alberta Hospital to determine if he is not criminally responsible for the death of his father, Starr Felix Sasakamoose, 43.

Crown prosecutor Kelly Payne and lawyer Harry Jong spoke on the matter Aug. 21 in High Prairie Court of Justice.

“I got a letter from Alberta Hospital; they haven’t finished the assessment and they need more time,” Jong said.

Justice G.W. Paul ordered an extension for the assessment and set the matter to Sept. 18.

Sasakamoose did not appear in court as he remains in custody in Alberta Hospital.

He has been found fit to stand trial after a psychiatric assessment that was reported in court July 24.

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

Sasakamoose Jr. was 26 when he was charged.

At the first appearance April 17, 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 says as he spoke in court April 17.

Lakeshore Regional Police Service reported in a new release 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.

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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