By Bill Graveland
THE CANADIAN PRESS
BATTLEFORD, Sask.- The fate of a Saskatchewan farmer charged in the shooting death of an Indigenous man will soon be in the hands of a jury.
Gerald Stanley, 56, was charged with second degree murder in August 2016.
Colten Boushie was 22 and a member of the Red Pheasant First Nation. He was sitting in the driver’s seat of a grey Ford Escape when he was shot in the back of the head after he and four friends had driven onto the Stanley farm.
The trial heard the vehicle had a flat tire. The driver testified the group had been drinking during the day and tried to break into a truck on a neighbouring farm, but went to the Stanley property in search of help with the tire.
Closing arguments are scheduled for this morning. Justice Martel Popescul has already informed the jury that he will give his instructions after that.
“At that point, I turn it over to you, and at that point you would be sequestered until your deliberations are concluded,” Popescul said Monday.
Stanley testified he and his son heard an SUV with a flat tire drive into his farmyard near Biggar, Sask. and heard one of their all-terrain vehicles start and thought it was being stolen.
Stanley said he grabbed a handgun, normally used to scare off wildlife, when the SUV didn’t leave the yard, and fired two or three shots into the air. He told court the gun went off when he went up to the SUV and tried to reach for the keys in the ignition.
Residents of the Red Pheasant First Nation say they are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the trial.
“The current situation at Red Pheasant is very difficult,” said Chief Clarence Wuttunee in a statement.
He said the death of Boushie “has deeply wounded all the members of Colten’s family.”
“The young people in the car with Colten have been traumatized beyond belief,” Wuttunee said.
“The untimely death of yet another First Nations youth has had a far reaching impact on the people of Red Pheasant First Nation and in the First Nations community.”