Alberta man charged with 2nd-degree murder of hunters said he feared for his family

Anthony Bilodeau, one of two men accused of murdering a pair of hunters in 2020, took the stand in his own defence Wednesday — saying he shot the men because he feared for the lives of his father, brother and himself. Breanna Karstens-Smith has more from Day 7 in court.

One of two men accused of chasing and killing two Metis hunters told a court Wednesday he had no intention of using a gun he brought to follow the victims.

Anthony Bilodeau took the stand in his second-degree murder trial. His father Roger Bilodeau is also charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal.

Jacob Sansom and his uncle Morris Cardinal shown on an undated hunting trip together.

Jacob Sansom and his uncle Morris Cardinal shown on an undated hunting trip together.

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Sansom and Cardinal were killed on March 27, 2020 after spending the day hunting moose about two-and-a-half hours north east of Edmonton near Bonnyville.

Bilodeau testified he had worked until just after 8 p.m. that night. He said he got home, ate dinner, played with his young daughter and then put her to bed before sitting in the living room with his wife.

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After 9 p.m. his phone rang and he saw it was his younger brother.

“I just said ‘hello’ and it was my dad’s voice,” Anthony testified. “And he said ‘We caught them, you gotta get over here.’”

Anthony testified he didn’t know what his father Roger was talking about so he asked.

“That’s when (Roger) said ‘We caught the thieves, they came back. You gotta get over here.’”

Bilodeau and his younger brother have both testified that there had been an increase in crime in the Glendon area recently, though their homes had not been hit.

The brother, who was 16 at the time, earlier testified that on the morning of March 27, he saw what was possibly a Chevrolet truck in the Bilodeau yard. He said he did not recognize it and found it suspicious.

Anthony testified he asked his father if he had called the police.

“He said, ‘No, there’s no time. You gotta get over here.’”

Bilodeau testified his father then said, “I don’t know if these guys are armed but grab a gun just in case because we’re defenseless and we’re unarmed.”

Anthony testified he got up, put on his boots and a sweater and went into his safe to get a gun and a “handful of shells.”

“When you got the gun from the safe, were you intending to use it?” Anthony’s lawyer Brian Beresh asked his client who responded “No.”

“So why did you take ammunition?” Beresh asked.

“I believed these guys were armed. That they had guns and were going to use them,” Bilodeau testified.

He said put the ammunition in his cupholder, the unloaded gun on the passenger seat and drove in the direction his father and brother had said they were driving.

“I just thought that this was going to fizzle out and nothing was going to come of it,” he testified.

Throughout the drive, his cellphone remained on and connected to Roger and the teenage son who had called Anthony on their vehicle’s Bluetooth speaker.

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At one point, Anthony heard his brother say the truck they were chasing stopped.

“’I heard my dad say, ‘What are you guys doing at my yard?’ and did not hear a response.”

He said he then heard what sounded like a window smashing. According to statements to police and other witness testimony, one of the victims punched and broke the passenger side window of the Bilodeau vehicle.

“At that point, I knew I had to get there because I knew they were in trouble and I had to help,” Anthony testified.

He said he heard his younger brother scream at someone to get off him and to leave him alone.

“It made the hair on your neck stand up. It was blood-curdling.”

“I heard a man’s voice say ‘Go get a knife so I can kill these f—ers,’” Anthony said.

“And that’s when I heard voice saying ‘Don’t kill my dad, don’t kill my dad.’ I was wiping tears on the way there. I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

For a few seconds, he heard nothing and wasn’t sure what was happening.

Then Anthony said he could hear his father saying “Calm down, we wanna talk. I just want to know why you’re in our yard.”

When asked by Beresh whether he could hear a response, Bilodeau said he heard a loud “F— you.”

“I believed I was going to get there and they were going to be dead.”

When he pulled up to the intersection where his father’s vehicle was stopped beside a Dodge truck, Anthony said he saw a man choking his father.

He loaded his gun in the cab of the truck.

“Because at that point, I believed someone had a knife. I believed there was weapons. I knew they were in trouble,” Anthony testified.

He insisted that, at that point, he still had no intention of using it.

Anthony told the court he stepped out of his truck, racked the action on the gun, pointed it to the ground and yelled ‘Hey, that’s enough.’

He says one of the strangers yelled to the other “Go get my gun, let’s kill this mother f—er.”

Within seconds, he said the passenger door of the Dodge opened, the other man got out and opened the back passenger door.

Anthony said that man pulled out “a very large firearm” which he held across his chest as he started walking towards Anthony.

That was the first time Bilodeau said he saw either of the victims with a weapon.

He claimed that man pointed his gun at Anthony and threatened to kill him, so Anthony shot that man three times.

He testified he only checked on that victim to see if he still had a gun.

Earlier in the trial, Sansom’s wife Sarah testified her husband was not an aggressive man and that he and his uncle had been in the area hunting to feed others within the Metis community.

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Anthony Bilodeau testified that, after the shootings, he cut up the gun he used and put it in a box which he took to the dump.

He also took unique spotlights off his truck and took those to the dump.

When asked why they didn’t call 911, Anthony said, “I was afraid.

“I was afraid of going to jail for protecting my family.”

Crown prosecutors will cross examine Anthony starting Thursday.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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