The courtroom in Wadena on March 17 was nearly empty, save for family and a few interested parties, for the sentencing of Delbert Nanaquetung. It was Delbert, 24, and his brother Donovan Nanaquetung, 28, who were charged with the shooting that occurred at the Quill Lake Hotel on April 23, 2014.
Proceedings began with Judge Michelle Marquette reading out the list of Delbert Nanaquetung’s offences committed from 2005 till the Quill Lake incident. They included impaired driving, driving while disqualified, fleeing the scene of an accident, breaking and entering, theft, wounding and endangering life, aggravated assault, and firearm offences, totalling 57 convictions since 2005.
Judge Marquette went on to clarify each incident from 2005, culminating with the Quill Lake shooting. Seven impact statements were read from all victims dating back to 2005. Victims stated that they had suffered financial stress, emotional stress and, in the case of those involved in the Quill Lake shooting, physical stress due to injuries received.
Judge Marquette said in her statement that because of the significant amount of rural armed robberies in recent years, a lengthy custodial sentence must be expected. Mitigating circumstances for the accused began with the fact that he had pleaded guilty, thus saving the victims from having to attend court. The RCMP acknowledged Nanaquetung’s co-operation and that he has expressed remorse and apologized for his actions and crimes.
His life previous to the 2014 incident was painted as tragic. He was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome and his upbringing was one of domestic violence coupled with alcohol and substance abuse, and a mother still recovering from the residential school system. He left school at age 13 and since then had no other education, job, or training, thus leaving him, in his words, “resigned” to a life of crime.
Judge Marquette spoke of the burdens borne by the victims of his actions. A lengthy statement was read to the courtroom, describing how the residents of Quill Lake who were in the bar at the time of the shooting have struggled to cope with the financial stress, emotional issues and physical wounds resulting from that night.
Taking all the above into consideration, Judge Marquette delivered the following sentence:
- seven years for firearm offences.
- one year for the wearing of a face mask during a robbery.
- one year for being the occupant of a known stolen car.
- three years for break and enter.
- four years for endangering life.
- four years for wounding.
These sentences are to run concurrently. Also added were another seven months for crimes relating to earlier incidents. Delbert Nanaquetung received a total sentence of eight years and seven months, minus 479 days for time served. Donovan Nanaquetung has yet to be sentenced for his involvement in the April 2014 incident.
By Andy Labdon