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Suspects in Ponoka shooting plead not guilty

Will stand trial for attempted murder
The vehicle involved in the shooting rests in front of the Leland Hotel Sept. 21, 2022. (File photo)

Two suspects charged with attempted murder for a shooting in downtown Ponoka this fall have pleaded not guilty and have chosen to go ahead with a judge-alone trial.

On Sept. 21, at 2:51 a.m., Ponoka RCMP received reports of a shooting near the Leland Hotel.

Video footage from a business on Chipman Avenue showed a black car swerve into a tree and then hit the curb on the opposite side of the street before an individual took off on foot.

A victim with what appeared to be multiple gun shot wounds was identified and taken to hospital by STARS in stable condition.

The car, with what looked like several bullet holes, was towed away from the street after police finished with the scene later that day.

Eldon James Saddleback Junior, 34, a resident of Maskwacis, and Anthony Kelsey Lee Omeasoo, 29, a resident of Wetaskiwin, were apprehended in Banff National Park on Sept. 26.

Saddleback and Omeasoo were additionally charged with aggravated assault, two counts of assault with a weapon, discharge of a firearm with intent, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and failure to comply with a release order.

Saddleback was also charged with possession of a weapon contrary to an order.

The pair entered their elections and pleas at Ponoka Provincial Court on Dec. 16. Their next appearance is set for Jan. 6, 2023 to speak to the court.

READ MORE: Car crash, shooting near Leland Hotel, Ponoka

According to records available to the public, Saddleback was previously convicted of multiple offences related to a home invasion on Montana Cree Nation in 2010.

A group of four or five intruders forced their way into the home at 1:30 a.m. on May 25, 2010.

There were children in the home at the time, including an eight-month old infant.

The suspects were masked with bandanas, wore baseball caps and were carrying machetes and guns.

Witnesses identified Saddleback as the leader of the gang of intruders, saying they saw his face when his bandana slipped and they recognized his voice.

Saddleback contested the identification evidence but his appeal was dismissed on Feb. 3, 2012.

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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