Family disappointed in answers from corrections in Sask. stabbing inquest

Click to play video: 'Family disappointed in answers in Sask. stabbing inquest'
Family disappointed in answers in Sask. stabbing inquest
WATCH: The coroner's inquest into the James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon deaths continues, once again hearing from the Correctional Service of Canada. As Global's Easton Hamm reports, one community member still waits for answers. – Jan 24, 2024

After a week and a half at the provincial coroner’s inquest, a member of James Smith Cree Nation community says he’s disappointed in the lack of answers from the correctional system.

“The recommendations that are going to come out of this are huge,” said James Smith Cree Nation member Darryl Burns. “There’s still a lot of denial that a problem exists.”

Supervisors and parole officers from Correctional Service Canada testified to their interactions with mass killer Myles Sanderson again on Wednesday – bringing the number of witnesses heard from the system to seven.

Click to play video: 'Myles Sanderson’s parole officer breaks down their relationship before mass stabbing rampage'
Myles Sanderson’s parole officer breaks down their relationship before mass stabbing rampage

The inquest is intended to do a deep dive into the deaths of the 11 people Sanderson killed on James Smith Cree Nation and in the community of Weldon in 2022, and to help craft plans to prevent future massacres.

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When asked for recommendations on how Correctional Service Canada could improve their processes, most members of the organization had no advice to give.

“Maybe I’m being very critical, but I think there’s a lot of things that could have been done differently,” Burns said. “(Sanderson) had a history and he was violent and everyone knew it. Why was it so easy for him to get out of the system? So easy for him to remain at large?”

Several parole and RCMP officers testified Sanderson’s criminal record was fairly common in comparison to other offenders.

“There was nothing leading up to this that would suggest he would be capable of what happened,” said Natasha Melanson, Sanderson’s community parole officer.

She said he was always respectful while on statutory release, never verbally abusive or aggressive, and didn’t seem to be using drugs or alcohol.

“He did everything he needed to do. He asked for help when he needed help. He was really on target for what we were looking for.”

Sanderson took part in the highest intensity Indigenous programming while at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary to address his substance abuse, crime cycle and history of domestic violence.

“Sanderson always had a little bit more walls up, but he was for the most part respectful,” said facilitator Brandy Ross.

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Sanderson’s common-law partner Vanessa Burns testified last week that he knew how to manipulate and fool people.

“They know how to groom their victims,” she said. “They know what their victims’ needs are and wants and know how to take advantage of that.”

A post-death assessment of Sanderson suggested he had psychopathy, anti-social personality disorder and intermittent explosive disorder.

A jury is sitting in on the inquest proceedings, tasked with brainstorming recommendations to improve the systems that dealt with Sanderson and the processes leading to his eventual capture.

Burns said the lack of response and recommendations from corrections doesn’t help the jury with their role.

“The jury is just as uneducated as I am in this whole process… I think unanswered questions create more questions.”

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