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Man convicted in Tiki Laverdiere's murder released on parole

Five of the 10 people convicted in Tiki Laverdiere's murder are now out.
BrentCheckosis
Brent Checkosis was sentenced in May 2020 to seven-and-half years for his part in Tiki Laverdiere’s murder.

A former Westside Outlawz street gang member convicted in Tiki Laverdiere’s murder in North Battleford is out of prison on statutory release.

On May 15, 2020, Brent Checkosis, was sentenced in Battlefords Court of Queen’s Bench to seven-and-half years in prison on a charge of accessory after the fact to murder. With credit for time served, Checkosis only had five-and-half years to serve.

Checkosis, now 23, was the youngest of the 10 convicted in Laverdiere’s murder. He was 18 at the time and a member of Westside Outlawz street gang, court heard.

Several of the other people convicted in Tiki Laverdiere’s murder are also back on the streets.

In November 2023, Shayla-Ann Victoria Orthner, now 32, was approved for a community-based residential facility for six months. Mavis Takakenew, Samuel Takakenew, and Charles St. Savard have also finished serving their sentences.

On July 11, 2019, a police dog found Laverdiere's remains in a rural area outside of North Battleford while RCMP were conducting a ground search.

On May 12, 2019, Laverdiere’s mother reported her missing to Battlefords RCMP. Her last contact with her family was on May 1, 2019, according to RCMP.

From July 2019 to August 2020, police arrested 10 people in Saskatchewan and Alberta and charged them in Laverdiere’s murder. Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crimes led the investigation, with support from more than 20 RCMP units and four partner agencies.

Just two weeks after Laverdiere was murdered on May 1, 2019, Checkosis was arrested by Maidstone RCMP and charged with possession of a sawed-off rifle – the same one he used to shoot Laverdiere’s corpse in the head, according to parole documents.

About two months later, on July 25, 2019, Checkosis was arrested and charged in connection to Laverdiere’s murder.

After Checkosis’ arrest for Laverdiere’s murder, he was stabbed in a high-security gang range of the Saskatoon Correctional Centre on Aug. 23, 2019. Jesse Edward Philip McKenzie and Kihiw Jason George Fourstar pleaded guilty in Saskatoon court to aggravated assault and possession of a homemade knife for a dangerous purpose.

According to parole documents obtained by SaskToday.ca, the attack on Checkosis was a “beat-down” by several gang members after he was labelled as an informant.

The attack put Checkosis in the hospital for several months. He had a fractured skull and a brain injury.

Checkosis has since left Westside Outlawz street gang, according to January parole documents.

Court heard that Laverdiere’s murder was a gang murder by Westside Outlawz, which had ties to Redd Alert, and that she was tortured for hours.

During one of the accused’s sentencing hearings, the prosecutor called Laverdiere's murder a real life ‘horror movie.’ This sentiment was echoed by Orthner’s defence counsel who told the court that Laverdiere’s murder was the “most horrific gang murder in Sask. history.”

Court heard that Laverdiere’s murder was in retaliation for Tristen Cook-Buckle’s murder in Edmonton weeks earlier. He was the “commander” of the street gang Redd Alert in Edmonton, and Laverdiere was his “right-hand" woman and affiliated with Redd Alert, court heard.

Gladue factors

Checkosis is originally from Saskatoon, where he lived until he was about 10 when he moved to Poundmaker First Nation.

“You believe that Saskatoon is a trap for Aboriginal people to commit crime as you got further into the gang life during periods of time when you would be in that city,” state parole documents.

Court documents also reveal that Checkosis would leave Poundmaker and go to Saskatoon to visit family to get away from "negative influences" in the Battlefords.

At home, he was exposed to domestic violence and alcohol abuse during his formative years, according to parole documents.

As a child, he went through periods where there was no food in the house and his mother had to borrow money to buy groceries.

“You report being sexually abused by your brother-in-law when you were seven or eight years old, on multiple occasions," read the parole documents. "You relate that you never disclosed the abuse to anyone."

The Parole Board recognized his Gladue factors including childhood physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to substance abuse and domestic violence in the home, lack of a male role model during his formative years, poverty, incomplete education, personal substance abuse, and exposure to negative associates, including gang involvement.

Gladue factors take into consideration the detrimental effects of colonialism and intergenerational trauma and how they may have played a role in offending.

Parole conditions

The Parole Board ordered that Checkosis abstain from drugs and alcohol, follow a treatment plan, seek employment and/or remain employed, provide financial disclosure, have no contact with victims, and avoid associating with anyone he believes to be involved in criminal activity.

Additional special conditions were placed on Checkosis.

To reduce his need to commit crime for financial gain, he is to remain gainfully employed, or actively search for employment, or pursue academic upgrading and submit proof of these activities to his parole supervisor.

A Nov. 12, 2019, psychiatric report outlined his history of substance abuse.

“A return to substance abuse would inevitably bring you to making connections with criminally minded associations in the community,” said the Parole Board when ordering him not to consume, purchase, or possess alcohol or drugs other than prescribed medication and over the counter drugs.

Checkosis has to provide financial reports to the Parole Board to prove that he is legitimately earning his income and not getting it from drug trafficking.

Checkosis was ordered not to have any direct or indirect contact with the victim’s family.

He is classified as a high needs offender with a history of violent offending so he is required to take treatment for substance abuse and violent behaviour.

Checkosis also has unaddressed childhood trauma and the board ordered that he attend counselling as arranged by his parole supervisor.

The 10 arrested and convicted

In April 2024, Jesse Sangster was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 10 years after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

In November 2022, following a judge alone trial, 36-year-old Soaring Eagle Whitstone was found guilty of first-degree murder for the benefit of a criminal organization. She was handed a life sentence with no parole for 25 years.

In October 2021, following a judge alone trial, 32-year-old Nikita Sandra Cook was found guilty of first-degree murder for the benefit of a criminal organization. She was sentenced to life with no parole for 25 years.

In January 2023, 40-year-old Nicole Cook pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She was sentenced to life with no parole for 10 years.

In June 2022, following a judge alone trial, 34-year-old Danita Thomas, was found guilty of manslaughter and improperly interfering with human remains. She was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison.

In August 2022, 29-year-old Shayla-Ann Victoria Orthner was sentenced to 10.5 years in prison for manslaughter.

In May 2020, 19-year-old Brent Firel Checkosis was sentenced to seven years in prison for accessory to murder.

In May 2020, 55-year-old Mavis Takakenew was sentenced to 18 months in jail for accessory to murder.

In December 2021, 36-year-old Samuel Takakenew was sentenced to 365 days in jail for accessory to murder.

In January 2021, 34-year-old Charles St. Savard was sentenced to two years for unlawful confinement.

Read related stories:

-Tiki Laverdiere murder: Who are the 10 people convicted?

-Torture, murder of Tiki Laverdiere a real life 'horror movie': Prosecutor

-The Alta. murder that led to Tiki Laverdiere's murder in Sask.

-Tiki Laverdiere’s life mattered: Justice Zerr

-Prosecution of 10 people in Tiki Laverdiere's murder lasted 5 years

-Woman convicted in Tiki Laverdiere's death granted day parole

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