January 6, 2016 6:00 pm
Updated: January 7, 2016 1:51 pm

‘It’s a good day’: victim’s family happy charges laid in Christmas Day homicide

Family is mourning the loss of Thomas Braconnier. He was the victim of a homicide in Red Deer Christmas Day.

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Police have charged a 33-year-old Red Deer man in connection with a Christmas Day homicide.

Chad Alexander Kulba was charged Tuesday with the second-degree murder of Thomas Patrick Braconnier.

RCMP said a body was discovered in the lobby of a downtown Red Deer business near 50 Street and 50 Avenue early Christmas morning.

Officers were called to the business at about 5:20 a.m. after someone reported a person was found unconscious.

When paramedics arrived, they pronounced the person dead.

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The victim, 46-year-old Braconnier, is from the Red Deer area.

An autopsy confirmed Braconnier’s death was a homicide, although police did not release the cause of his death.

“We’re happy that they’ve made an arrest and that they’ve pressed charges against this guy and that they feel that they have a pretty good case against him,” said Braconnier’s sister, Tannis Lasiuta. “It’s not just going to be that he’s a homicide victim and that’s that and everyone forgets all about him. We want to know that there’s justice.”

“He’s not a homicide victim. He’s our brother. He’s a son. He’s a dad. He’s a grandpa.”

RCMP said Kulba was identified early on as a suspect in the investigation. He was detained Christmas Day for questioning, during which time he attempted to
disarm an officer.

He was charged in relation to that incident and remained in custody in relation to that charge.

On Tuesday, Kulba was re-arrested at the Red Deer Remand Centre and charged with second-degree murder and committing an indignity to a human body in relation to Braconnier’s death.

RCMP said the two men knew each other and lived in the same area. Lasiuta said Braconnier had been residing at an assisted-living facility called the Buffalo.
The apartment is owned and rented to tenants by Potters Hands Housing for people with a history of homelessness and addictions.

Lasiuta said Braconnier suffered a brain injury after being robbed and hit in the head with a crowbar when he was 39. He also suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

“He lived on [Alberta Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)] and he did panhandle and collect bottles,” she said. Lasiuta believes Braconnier’s killer may have preyed on him for money previously.

Police are not looking for any other suspects.

Braconnier’s funeral will be held on Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. at the Salvation Army Church in Red Deer. Lasiuta said Braconnier is well-known in the community and anyone from the public that knew him is welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made to the Red Deer Food Bank in Braconnier’s name as he frequently went there.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575.

*Editor’s note: This story was originally published on Friday, Dec. 25, 2015. It was updated on Dec. 30 to include information that the man’s death was ruled a homicide, and again Jan. 6 to include information about charges.

-With files from Lisa MacGregor and Phil Heidenreich

© 2016 Shaw Media

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