Son of accused murderer recounts shooting deaths at murder trial

·3 min read
A freeze frame from a surveillance video shown to the jury taken the night Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal were shot to death. (CNRL/Court exhibit - image credit)
A freeze frame from a surveillance video shown to the jury taken the night Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal were shot to death. (CNRL/Court exhibit - image credit)

The son of an accused murderer tearfully told an Edmonton jury Friday afternoon that he thought he might die the night his family confronted two men.

Roger Bilodeau, 58, and his son Anthony Bilodeau, 33, are charged with second-degree murder in relation to the fatal shootings of two Métis hunters in March 2020. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Jacob Sansom, 39, and his uncle, Maurice Cardinal, 37, died at a remote intersection outside the village of Glendon, about 215 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

Joseph Bilodeau, who was 16 when he witnessed the shootings, was interviewed by an RCMP officer four days after the shootings.

"I want to forget this ever happened," Joseph told the Mountie. "That image stays in your head for the rest of your life. When I looked out the window and saw the dead guy, it was hard. I was fighting for my life, for my dad's life.

"If it wasn't for [Anthony], who came, we would have been dead."

Before noon on March 27, 2020, Joseph spotted a blue pickup truck pull into their yard, he said.  That night, when a vehicle — that he thought was the same pickup — turned into their driveway, he told his father, "They're back. They're going to steal something."

The jury has previously been told that Joseph and Roger Bilodeau jumped into a truck and began to chase the other vehicle at speeds up to 152 km/h.

On Friday, Joseph testified that he got nervous as the chase continued.

"Any thought at this time just to shut it down?" asked Crown prosecutor Jeff Rudiak during direct examination.

"No," Joseph replied, adding that he's unsure why that wasn't considered.

Eventually, both vehicles made U-turns and Bilodeau called his son Anthony. He told him to meet them and to bring a gun for self-protection.

RCMP/Court exhibit
RCMP/Court exhibit

The two vehicles sped past Anthony's house. On Friday, Joseph told Rudiak that ending the chase and pulling into his brother's yard was never discussed.

Sansom pulled to a stop at a T-intersection. Bilodeau pulled his vehicle ahead.

"I was gonna back up and smoke him," Roger Bilodeau told an RCMP officer during an interview days after the shootings. "Because I was frigging mad."

Roger Bilodeau "simply asked [Sansom and Cardinal] what they were doing in our yard" with a "calm tone in his voice," Joseph told Rudiak Friday.

Joseph said he was terrified when Sansom came to the passenger side of the vehicle, then started punching the glass window and tried pulling him out of the truck.

When Sansom turned his attention to Roger Bilodeau, Joseph began punching Sansom in the head, he said.

During cross-examination, Joseph said he begged the men not to hurt his father, while checking over his shoulder for the arrival of his brother Anthony.

"I suspect at that point you knew that you were going to die unless someone helped you," said defence lawyer Brian Beresh.

"I would suspect you've never been as scared as you were that day."

Submitted by Mike Sansom
Submitted by Mike Sansom

Joseph affirmed both statements.

Two minutes after the confrontation began, Anthony arrived. Sansom and Cardinal approached him.

Seconds later, Sansom was shot once in the chest. Cardinal was shot three times.

'Neither one of us knew what to do'

Roger, Anthony and Joseph Bilodeau left the bodies and the scene.

When Roger and Joseph got home, they told Joseph's mother and sister there had been a confrontation that ended with them leaving after Anthony arrived at the scene.

They did not mention the shootings. They waited four days to confess what happened to police.

During that interview with police, Bilodeau said they made a bad judgment call.

"Neither one of us knew what to do," he said at the time. "Should have phoned right off the hop.

"People are scared, when these guys are up and down your road … and we're not supposed to do anything."

The trial is scheduled to run until May 27.

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