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Danita Thomas gets 12.5 years in prison for Laverdiere's death

BATTLEFORD – A North Battleford woman was handed 12 and-a-half years in prison for her part in the murder of Tiki Laverdiere of Edmonton.

Danita Thomas was sentenced in Battleford Court of Queen's Bench Friday. She was given 1,422 days credit for time serve in remand, which means she has 3,141 days left to serve.

On March 25, Thomas was found guilty of manslaughter. She was originally charged with first-degree murder. Judge Richard W. Elson of Saskatoon also found Thomas guilty of improperly interfering with human remains and theft of a vehicle. Judge Elson issued a stay of proceedings on the charge of hostage taking. He reserved sentencing until June 24.

Thomas’ trial ran from Jan. 24 to Feb. 14. North Battleford Senior Crown Chris Browne and Prosecutor Charlotte Morden are trying the cases for all 10 charged in connection with Laverdiere’s death. Defence Erin Little of Saskatoon represented Thomas.

Those sentenced

- May 2020, Brent Checkosis was sentenced to seven years in prison and Mavis Takakenew was sentenced to 18 months on an accessory to murder charge.

- January 2021 Charles St. Savard was sentenced to 14 months and 20 days for unlawful confinement. 

- October 2021, Nikita Cook was sentenced to life for first-degree murder with no chance of parole until 2046.

- December 2021, Samuel Takakenew was sentenced to time served on a charged of accessory to murder.

- April 2022 Shayla Orthner pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She will be sentenced July 20. 

Trials remaining

Still to stand trial are Soaring Eagle Whitstone, Jesse Sangster, and Nicole Cook.

Laverdiere was in Saskatchewan to attend Tristan Cook-Buckle's funeral on Thunderchild First Nation. Edmonton Police have called Cook-Buckle's death a homicide and no arrests have been made.

Laverdiere's family, who are from Alberta, have attended all preliminary hearings, trials and sentencing hearings of those accused.

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