After seven weeks on trial, it took a jury only nine hours to find three men guilty in horrific death of Reno Lee.
Jurors found Andrew Bellegarde, Daniel Theodore and Bronson Gordon all guilty of first-degree murder. Bellegarde and Theodore were also found guilty of interfering or offering an indignity to human remains by dismembering and decapitating.
Court heard that Lee died in April 2015 after being shot in the head twice. Lee’s body was eventually found dismembered and decapitated east of Regina on the Star Blanket First Nation, near Balcarres.
The packed courtroom has numerous people quietly crying, wiping away tears and sniffling.
That continued as Lee’s aunt Marion Desjarlais read out victim impact statements for the entire family, including her own.
“There is a big hole in my heart and it hurts more than any words can explain,” wrote Reno’s mother Laurie Lee.
His father Lyle Lee put down his thoughts on paper as well.
“Our lives are changed now and forever. We will never see our son again. Our hearts cry out,” his statement read. “There is nothing good about this reality.”
Reno’s younger brother Travis also tried to find the right words to describe how he would write about his murdered sibling.
“Emotionally, it felt like I was being torn apart inside out,” he wrote as Desjarlais voiced it.
Desjarlais herself called what happened a “barbaric crime” and questioned how much he must have suffered.
“After viewing the photos it was easy to see what had happened to Reno was brutal, horrendous and inhumane. Now I know why we couldn’t have an open coffin.”
She said this manner of three men ganging up on one person was for cowards.
While Bellegarde had nothing to say, both Gordon and Theodore apologized, saying they were sorry to the family.
First-degree murder carries a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Gordon broke down and cried in the prisoner’s box when the judge formally sentenced him to life behind bars. For Theodore and Bellegarde, a concurrent sentence of five years for indignity to human remains was handed down by the judge as well.
Since the date of parole eligibility is established from when the men were first arrested, all three won’t be eligible until 2040.