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Woman convicted in Tiki Laverdiere's death granted day parole

In August 2022, Shayla Orthner was sentenced to 10 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
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Shayla Orthner arrives at Battleford Court of Queen's bench in August 2022. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A former Westside Outlawz street gang member convicted in Tiki Laverdiere’s murder has been granted day parole. Shayla-Ann Victoria Orthner, now 32, has been approved for a community-based residential facility for six months, upon bed space availability.

In August 2022, Orthner was sentenced in Battleford Court of Queen's Bench to 10 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 25-year-old Laverdiere of Edmonton, Alta. She was originally charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, improperly interfering with human remains, and theft of a vehicle. She was given 1,671 days credit for pre-trial time served. This meant she had 1,981 days left to serve effective Aug. 26, 2022.

“This was noted to be a gang-related murder, in which 10 individuals were charged in relation to this offence,” state parole documents obtained by SaskToday.ca.

Court previously 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.”

Orthner’s parole documents also reveal that Laverdiere was tortured.

"Police learned that on the late evening of May 1, 2019, that the victim had been assaulted and the suspects took her to the basement of the residence where she was tortured and killed," read parole documents.

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.

Orthner wanted to leave during the torture of Laverdiere but Whitstone told her she couldn’t and said she knows where her son lives, court heard in September 2022.

“You detailed how the offence came about, adding that you felt pressured as you were threatened and you were afraid for your son,” state parole documents.

“You acknowledge that you should have went to the police, even after the murder, but you got high instead. You realize you could have helped the victim's family by telling the police sooner. You spoke of the impact of how it would affect those who care about the victim, including her mother and children.

“The incident made you realize you needed to leave the gang, obtain sobriety, commit to a better lifestyle and realize that you have a family and need to be there for your son," continued the parole documents.

Orthner drops the gang

Orthner was a member of Westside Outlawz and was a “soldier,” according to both court testimony and parole documents. She initially started selling drugs for Westside Outlawz and then started doing jobs for them, such as assaulting people.

She left the Westside Outlawz street gang after she was arrested in July 2019 and charged with Laverdiere's murder.

Following her conviction in August 2022, she was placed in medium security, then in April 2023 she was transitioned to minimum security. She went on 35 escorted temporary absences without incident.

Good behaviour in prison

Orthner's behaviour in prison was exemplary, according to parole documents.

While incarcerated, she didn’t have any institutional charges and she completed all of the recommended programs. She was the chair of the Inmate Welfare Committee, was employed, and maintained her sobriety since September 2019. She started taking medication for ADHD and has worked with a counsellor on her PTSD symptoms.

She spoke with her son on the phone two to three times a week, had video visits with her foster mother every second week, and wrote to her grandmother monthly.

The prison chaplain told the Parole Board that Orthner was ready for day parole.

“She spoke of how engaged you were in the grief and loss program," read the parole documents. "You have evolved into a person who is able to manage your emotions and use your skills. You accept support and resources when offered. Your Institutional Elder's helper stated that you have absorbed the teachings and done well.”

Orthner “demonstrated empathy for the victims,” said the parole report.

Orthner’s day parole conditions include not communicating with anyone involved in the drug subculture, security threat group/gang activity, or criminal activity, not to consume, purchase or possess drugs other than prescribed medication and over the counter drugs, not to consume, purchase or possess alcohol, and not to have any direct or indirect contact with members of Laverdiere's family.

“You played a role in the senseless loss of a young woman’s life,” said the Parole Board. “The victim’s family must be avoided so you do not cause any further harm or trauma.”

Orthner was also ordered to follow a treatment plan arranged by her parole supervisor for substance abuse and past trauma.

The November 2023 parole documents, which were under a publication ban until all 10 accused went through the court system, don't specify where Orthner will be living other than to say "a different province" than her support system of her grandmother and foster mother.

Orthner born in jail

Orthner was born in a correctional centre while her mother was serving time, reveal parole documents. She didn’t know who her father was and was raised alone by her mother.

Orthner was placed in foster care for two years until her mother regained custody. After her mother died in 2006, Orthner was placed back in foster care where she said she experienced abuse, say parole documents.

She became addicted to crystal methamphetamine and also abused cocaine, marijuana, and MDMA.

10 arrested and convicted

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.

The last of the 10 people charged in Laverdiere’s murder was sentenced on April 26 in Battleford Court of King’s Bench.

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:

-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

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

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