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Warning: this story incorporates particulars some readers might discover disturbing.
Roderica Ribbonleg was a brilliant, cheerful, humorous 15-year-old woman who was all the time prepared to lend a serving to hand. In the summertime of 2020, she was making ready for Grade 11, and was already speaking about inviting family and friends to her commencement. She cherished artwork and industrial design, and needed to depart her distant group after commencement for varsity within the metropolis. “She needed to make her household proud,” a cousin who labored at her faculty recalled.
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All that got here to a violent finish by the hands of a stranger.
On Friday, Jason Tallcree was sentenced to life in jail with no probability of parole for 25 years for Ribbonleg’s homicide.
In early April, Courtroom of King’s Bench Justice Wayne Renke discovered Tallcree responsible of first-degree homicide, sexual interference and providing indignity to the 15-year-old’s physique. After listening to the proof, Renke concluded Tallcree was the one who beat Ribbonleg, sexually assaulted her after which strangled her to dying, depositing her physique in a shallow grave on John D’Or Prairie.
Tallcree, 38, might be in his early 60s earlier than he is ready to apply for launch. He was sentenced to further time for the sexual offence and disposing of Ribbonleg’s physique, which might be served similtaneously the life sentence.
Ribbonleg’s killing despatched shockwaves by John D’Or Prairie, a group of round 1,300 positioned 750 km north of Edmonton that’s residence to certainly one of three Little Pink River Cree Nation settlements.
Tallcree and Ribbonleg had by no means met earlier than the day of her homicide. A member of Little Pink River, Ribbonleg was residing in John D’Or with a relative of Tallcree’s. On the morning of July 5, 2020, she was dozing at a rundown home often known as the “hut,” the place she, Tallcree’s nephew and several other others have been hanging out watching motion pictures.
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Tallcree arrived on a quad round 10 a.m. In keeping with the nephew, Tallcree entered the hut and noticed Ribbonleg sleeping within the bed room. He requested who she was, and the nephew advised him. He then received a trip residence on the again of Tallcree’s quad.
When Tallcree’s nephew texted Ribbonleg later that night, there was no response.
Ribbonleg’s disappearance was reported to RCMP in Fort Vermillion July 10. Mounties arrived and spent the following days interviewing residents and conducting site visitors stops across the group. Tallcree, who was not but a suspect, was interviewed the day earlier than Ribbonleg’s physique was discovered.
Doyle Nanooch, a lifelong John D’Or Prairie resident who had beforehand organized searches for lacking folks, finally led searchers down a quad observe the place a flock of crows had been noticed. As they progressed, they discovered objects together with a sanitary pad and a cellphone, later decided to be Ribbonleg’s. They rigorously marked and picked up proof with the assistance of RCMP, rising from the bush right into a clearing with a beaver dam.
Searchers made their method towards the dam. They discovered Ribbonleg’s physique, coated with a skinny layer of dust, in a burrow beavers used to slide into the close by stream. An post-mortem decided she had been overwhelmed, sexually assaulted and strangled with a rope or twine.
Investigators spoke to Tallcree two days after the invention. He declined to be interviewed, instantly telling them “I don’t even know her.” He was later recognized as a suspect and arrested the next month.
Tallcree didn’t testify at trial. Defence legal professionals Ajay Juneja and Adam Chadi declined to name proof, as a substitute arguing the Crown had didn’t show past an inexpensive doubt that Tallcree was the killer. The actual fact Tallcree’s sperm was discovered on Ribbonleg’s physique was defined as a possible “harmless switch” from Ribbonleg having slept within the mattress within the hut.
Renke didn’t purchase it. He mentioned the placement of Ribbonleg’s physique, the presence of the sperm and his makes an attempt to deflect consideration from himself established past an inexpensive doubt that Tallcree was the killer.
Tallcree, who can be Indigenous, waived the preparation of a Gladue report however advised courtroom each his dad and mom attended residential faculties. Chadi mentioned his consumer grew up in excessive poverty, skilled quite a few sorts of abuse and commenced utilizing medication and alcohol at age 11.
Tallcree was beforehand charged with homicide within the 2014 dying of his common-law spouse, Malena Loonskin, however the costs have been finally stayed. He additionally has prior convictions for sexual assault.
Six of Ribbonleg’s family members submitted sufferer impression statements. A group impression assertion from Gordon Breen, John D’Or’s director of training, mentioned Ribbonleg’s homicide was “so horrific it impacted each stage of the group.”
Breen mentioned the killing left an “environment of pervasive grief” that drove an “inordinate quantity” of academics and academic professionals to depart the group. The tragedy has additionally affected recruitment efforts, he mentioned.
Ribbonleg and Tallcree’s names have been quickly coated by a publication ban, requested by the Crown on the grounds Ribbonleg was a sexual interference sufferer and a youth sufferer of murder. Renke rescinded the ban after being made conscious by media that Ribbonleg’s mom needed folks to know her daughter’s identify.