Editor’s note: The following story contains details of a homicide that may be disturbing or triggering for some readers.
While two local homicide cases have recently concluded, there are currently at least eight ongoing homicide cases involving victims and accused from Ponoka, Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin going through the courts.
Ashton Lloyd Butch Saddleback, convicted of second degree murder in the Nov. 6, 2020, killing of his mother, Corinne Saddleback, at a home in Maskwacis, was sentenced on Oct. 28, 2022, to life imprisonment and a lifetime firearms prohibition.
Ashton was convicted on March 3, 2022, by Justice S.N. Mandziuk at the Wetaskiwin Court of Queen’s Bench (now King’s Bench).
The written judgement states Saddleback caused the death during a violent assault.
According to witnesses, Ashton had a court appearance in Ponoka during the day on Nov. 6. Corrine drove Ashton back to Maskwacis. Ashton then started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana when Corrine left the residence.
Witnesses testified that Corinne was drinking and used marijuana while driving and was intoxicated when she returned back to the residence at 11:45 p.m.
When Ashton went to help Corinne inside from the car, witnesses said the deceased had asked Ashton if he wanted to fight, to which he laughed and said no. He assisted Corinne to a bedroom but she didn’t stay inside the room.
An argument then ensued with the witnesses describing hearing thuds and slamming.
When two paramedics arrived on the scene, they noted visible traumatic injuries and found no heartbeat.
A forensic pathologist testified Corinne died of blunt head and neck injuries. In police interviews, Ashton had admitted to stomping on her head.
Mandziuk concluded that Ashton was intoxicated but functional and his ability to intend to cause bodily harm or to foresee the likely consequences of his actions was not impaired.
He further explained that Ashton’s conduct after the fact (calling 911, cleaning the scene, etc.) demonstrated he knew what he had done was wrong.
Ryan Jake Applegarth was sentenced on Nov. 3, 2022, to eight years minus time served for the Jan. 3, 2020, manslaughter of Jamison Samuel Louis. He will stand trial for the second degree murder of Chantelle Firingstoney in May, 2023.
Shayden Trey Rain, 21, has been charged with the second-degree murder of Jeremy Soosay.
Soosay’s mother Trena Soosay-Nanemahoo told Global News that Soosay was walking to a convenience store in Samson Cree Nation for some snacks on Sept. 1, 2022, when he was shot.
Rain is scheduled to enter an election and plea at Wetaskiwin Provincial Court on Nov. 15, 2022.
Just eight days later, the body of 22-year-old Jordie Buffalo-Crier, a resident of Samson Cree Nation, was found in a ditch in Maskwacis on Sept. 9.
Kieran Keith Lightning was charged with second degree murder in the case. He is scheduled to enter an election and plea in Wetaskiwin Provincial Court on Nov. 29, 2022.
Cole Gerald Cattleman, 25, and Chaz Joseph Cattleman, 22, both of Maskwacis, are charged with the second degree murder of Skylar Currie, 20, of Maskwacis, as well as aggravated assault.
Chaz is additionally charged with being unlawfully at large from parole.
Currie passed away from injuries sustained after he was attacked in Montana First Nation on July 24, 2022.
While the two suspects fled, they allegedly assaulted a bystander, a 56-year-old resident of Maskwacis.
The court date to enter their election and pleas has been set over until Nov. 17, at Wetaskiwin Provincial Court.
Demetroff, Celeste Saddleback
A jury trial has begun for Kardon Ryan Demetroff, 23, and Celeste Morningstar Saddleback, 26, for first/second degree murder, kidnapping and robbery with a firearm. The trial, being held at the Wetaskiwin Court of King’s Bench, started Nov. 7, and is scheduled to go until Nov. 25.
The pair are charged in the death of Larry Parker, a 74-year-old Wetaskiwin man. Parker was found dead on a road near Maskwacis.
Adam James Cook, 27, and Morgan Maslin, 20, both from Wetaskiwin, were charged with the second degree murder of Antwon Bull of Ponoka.
Bull, 19, sustained life-threatening injuries during an altercation in Wetaskiwin on July 8, 2022. He died in hospital later that evening.
The court date to enter their elections and pleas has been rescheduled again, and is now set for Nov. 29, at Wetaskiwin Provincial Court.
Cashtin Lee Joseph, 27, accused in the first degree murder of Brian Michael Dupe of Wetaskiwin, was denied bail in a hearing on Oct. 27, 2022.
Stanley Victor Howse, 49, was also charged with first degree murder in the case.
Dupe, 63, had been missing for over a week before his remains were located in a rural area west of Alder Flats on Oct. 22, 2022.
Both accused are scheduled to enter their elections and pleas in Wetaskiwin Provincial Court on Nov. 29, 2022.
Dylon Samuel Saddleback
Dylon Samuel Saddleback of Ponoka, 19, has been accused of the killing of Joshua Blain Dennehy on July 28, 2020.
Charged with first/second degree murder, his five-day, Judge-alone trial was held at the Wetaskiwin Court of Queen’s Bench from Sept. 12 to 16.
The decision on his sentencing is set for Dec. 6, 2022.
Charges have not yet been laid in the Nov. 5, 2022, death of Riley Evan Bull, 19.
Bull died of his wounds after RCMP responded to a gun complaint in Samson Cree Nation. The investigation is ongoing.