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Sentencing set for 2 charged with manslaughter of County of Wetaskiwin senior

Ponoka, Wetaskiwin and Maskwacis court briefs
(Stock photo)

Two men convicted of manslaughter in the death of a County of Wetaskiwin senior back in 2021 will be sentenced next month.

Donovan Lightning of Wetaskiwin, 30, was found guilty of manslaughter and arson and Linden Buffalo of Maskwacis, 33, guilty of manslaughter.

They are scheduled for sentencing on March 18, at the Wetaskiwin Court of King’s Bench.

A third suspect was found not guilty.

On June 23, 2021, just after 7:30 a.m., the Wetaskiwin RCMP were called to a structure fire on a rural property in the Usona district.

The following day the remains of the property owner, Clifford Stauffer, 83, were found. An autopsy determined the cause of death was blunt trauma to the head.

According to an online obituary, Stauffer’s hobbies included aviation, motorcycles and horses.

Shooting, flight from police

On March 4, 2023, Ponoka RCMP responded to a firearms complaint. The caller alleged people in a pickup truck had shot at him several times and driven away.

Officers followed the fleeing vehicle onto Montana First Nation and the five occupants of the vehicle were charged and arrested.

Tracy Lightfoot, 48, of Ponoka, pleaded guilty to flight from a peace officer. On Jan. 22, she was sentenced to 90 days in jail, one year of probation and given a one year licence suspension.

Co-accused Journey Okeynan, 20, of Montana First Nation, was charged with multiple weapon offences and being disguised with intent.

His trial is scheduled for April 23 to 25, 2025, in Wetaskiwin.

The charges against the three other suspects were withdrawn.

Second degree murder

Eroll Rabbit, 58, of Maskwacis, will find out in July if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial for second degree murder.

A preliminary hearing has been set for July 15.

On Oct. 9, 2023, Maskwacis RCMP received a report of an assault at a residence on Louis Bull First Nation.

The victim, 66-year-old Gary Gordon Raine, was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

On Oct. 13, Raine died of his injuries. The charge against Rabbit was then upgraded to second degree murder.

Trial date set

A trial date has been set for Gerald Cattleman and Chaz Joseph Cattleman who are charged with second degree murder and aggravated assault.

Maskwacis resident Mason Skylar Currie, 20, passed away from injuries he sustained in an assault on July 24, 2022, in Montana First Nation.

RCMP investigation determined two males entered a residence around 6 p.m., and assaulted Currie with a weapon.

RCMP said as the suspects fled, they came across a 56-year-old bystander who was calling 911 and assaulted him.

Their trial has been scheduled for April 7 to 17, 2025, at the Wetaskiwin Court of King’s Bench.

Aggravated assault

Sandy Brown, 33, a male resident of Maskwacis, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and failing to comply with release conditions.

Brown was arrested and charged after four people were injured in a string of stabbings in Wetaskiwin on Jan. 11, 2023.

A trial has been scheduled for Nov. 28 and 29, 2024, at the Wetaskiwin Court of Justice.

Emily Jaycox

About the Author: Emily Jaycox

I’m Emily Jaycox, the editor of Ponoka News and the Bashaw Star. I’ve lived in Ponoka since 2015 and have over seven years of experience working as a journalist in central Alberta communities.
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