Saskatchewan’s highest court overturns conviction in Saskatoon robbery

The mask found on Jonathan Keenatch-Lafond the night he was stabbed to death during a robbery that led to the conviction of Keith Napope. Adam MacVicar / Global News

Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal has reversed a man’s robbery conviction.

Johnathon Keenatch-Lafond, 35, was stabbed to death in a 2014 home invasion in Saskatoon.

The DNA of Keith Napope was found at the scene.

READ MORE: Keith Napope sentenced to 7 years for 2014 home invasion

In 2017, a jury found Napope guilty of robbery but not guilty of manslaughter in Keenatch-Lafond’s death.

He received a seven-year sentence.

On Thursday, Saskatchewan’s highest court acquitted Napope, saying the trial judge gave unclear, legally incorrect and misleading instructions to the jury.

“A properly instructed jury could not reasonably find Mr. Napope guilty of this patently dangerous robbery — the predicate offence in relation to the charge of unlawful act manslaughter — and not guilty of manslaughter, as he must also have been guilty of that offence,” wrote Justice Brian Barrington-Foote in the unanimous decision.

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“The verdicts are accordingly inconsistent and the conviction is unreasonable.”

READ MORE: Suspect in death of Dylan Chretien makes first appearance on murder charge

Napope was accused of taking part in a drug robbery at a 20th Street apartment complex in November 2014 that left Keenatch-Lafond dead.

Keenatch-Lafond was believed to have been running a drug operation out of the apartment, and Saskatoon police investigators testified they found drug paraphernalia, including needles and drugs, inside the apartment.

Napope testified at his trial that was robbed days before the drug robbery by two masked men and recognized one of the masks as the same one that was found on Keenatch-Lafond.

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