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Saskatoon man chased down and murdered was not intended target in gang shooting, court hears

Cody Tait died March 27, 2022, on Beardy's and Okemasis Cree Nation, but he was not the intended target for his assailants. (Cody Tait/Facebook - image credit)
Cody Tait died March 27, 2022, on Beardy's and Okemasis Cree Nation, but he was not the intended target for his assailants. (Cody Tait/Facebook - image credit)

Crystal Tait says she's haunted by the image of her 22-year-old son, injured from a shotgun blast, lying terrified and dying on the side of a road.

Cody Tait died March 27, 2022, on Beardy's and Okemasis Cree Nation, about 90 kilometres north of Saskatoon. A sentencing hearing for two of the accused in his death was held Thursday at Saskatoon Court of King's Bench.

"He was violently murdered and I am isolated from people who love me," Crystal Tait wrote in her victim impact statement.

"I'm still trying to teach myself how to live without my son."

On Thursday, Dana Morningchild was sentenced to 18 years after pleading guilty to manslaughter and conspiracy to commit murder.

Robbie Cameron pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 11 years.

Two other accused have already appeared and been sentenced. Allison Bear is serving a three-and-a-half year manslaughter sentence, while Precious Gamble is serving three years for being party to an assault causing bodily harm.

Scotty Jimmy is charged with first-degree murder. His matter is still before the courts.

'Callous, cowardly, criminal act': judge

Crown prosecutor Andrew Clements and defence lawyers Shea Neudorf and James Streeton presented a joint sentencing submission, accepted by Justice Richard Danyliuk.

The events that day began when a woman fired a shot at Robbie Cameron, a member of the Westside Outlaws street gang, Clements read from an agreed statement of facts.

Cameron gathered Morningchild, Jimmy, Gamble and Bear into an SUV and went hunting for the woman. Jimmy and Morningchild were armed, according to the agreed statement of facts, and all five were wearing gang colours.

They encountered the woman and Cody Tait at a fundraiser on the First Nation. They gave chase, eventually shooting Tait in the back.

"Everyone except Precious Gamble gets out of the vehicle and begin to join in an assault on Cody and [the woman]," Clements said.

"[The woman] attempted to shield the collapsed Cody Tait with her body as the group kicks and strikes at them."

Tait died at the scene.

In speaking to the accused, Danyliuk said to describe their hunt for a shooter as a "mission" is a misnomer.

"It is not a mission. It is no more and no better than a callous, cowardly, criminal act," he said. "Don't abandon hope, but you both deserve these sentences."