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Parole board grants family visits to man convicted in double murder of Métis hunters

One of the two men found guilty in relation to the deaths of Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal near Glendon, Alta. has been allowed to visit family and go to church unescorted for 72 hours per month.
Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal are pictured. Roger Bilodeau was sentenced to 10 years for his role in the men's deaths in August, 2023. He now has been granted unescorted temporary absences from prison.

LAKELAND - Roger Bilodeau, one of the two men found guilty in relation to the deaths of Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal near Glendon, Alta., in March 2020, has been granted unescorted temporary absences from prison for personal development and family contact, according to report released by the Parole Board of Canada. 

Roger Bilodeau, now 60, is serving a sentence of five years, six months and 19 days, after being convicted of manslaughter. Bilodeau is subject to a DNA order and a lifetime firearms prohibition order. He had no prior convictions. 

His son, Anthony Bilodeau was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison and 13 years parole ineligibility in January 2023. 

On Dec. 6, 2023, the parole board requested a panel hearing to be held regarding the possibility of Roger Bilodeau being allowed unescorted temporary absences (UTAs). Although the UTAs were supported by the case management team, the board asked to meet with Bilodeau to have a discussion on “your progress, acceptance of responsibility for your offence, and your understanding of your attitude and behaviour that contributed to the tragic events on the day of the offence,” reads the report. 

A hearing was scheduled for Feb. 21, 2024. 

In order to make a decision, the board had to decide if Bilodeau would “present an undue risk to society” during his absences from prison, and whether it was “desirable for [him] to be absent from the penitentiary.” 

The board has authorized the UTAs for “personal development and family contact.” 

Bilodeau has been out on “escorted absences” with no concerns or suggestion of public safety being compromised, according to the report. He has been held in a minimum-security institution since November 2022. 

The UTAs for family contact were proposed to maintain a relationship with his wife and other immediate family members.  

“The UTAs will take place in increments that do not exceed 72 hours per month,” reads the report. “For all UTAs, regardless of duration, you are required to call and check in with the institution when arriving at either of the UTA destinations, and are required to call and report when leaving any of the UTA destinations for any activity you may participate in,” according to the report. Several other rules are also in place. 

The UTAs for personal development are meant to allow Bilodeau to attend church, and “will allow you to interact with other members of the congregation in a polite and respectful manner,” reads the report. 

“Mass is held on the weekends at allotted time frames on an hourly basis. There is also an opportunity for parishioners to mingle and visit in a coffee social for approximately 30 minutes and you are supported to participate in the 30-minute social,” directs the report. 

Background and Parole Board decision 

In March 2020, Sansom and Cardinal drove slowly past the Bilodeau property, located near Glendon, Alta. Roger and his youngest son got into a vehicle and began chasing the victims’ vehicle. 

“You contacted your other son and told him to join the pursuit and bring a gun,” reads the parole report. “Eventually your vehicle blocked the victim's vehicle. One of the victims got out and approached your vehicle, and you and your son engaged in a physical altercation with him. Your other son arrived in his vehicle and shot both victims, one from a few feet away as he hid behind his vehicle.”  

The Bilodeau men left the scene and made no effort to contact police. Both Sansom and Cardinal died due to injuries. 

“Their bodies were discovered hours later,” reads the report. 

Bilodeau did not plead guilty and is still in the process of appealing his sentence, which the report states is “largely driven by your desire to influence the appeal that your son is also pursuing.” 

The report states that Roger’s version of events does not fully match the official version.  

“You present with some cognitive distortions about the circumstances of the index offence,” reads the report. 

The report explains that Bilodeau is considered to be in the “low-risk” category to reoffend, however, local RCMP have indicated concerns about Bilodeau being granted UTAs. 

“It is their opinion that should the public become aware of the release and potential unsupervised visits, it would show the community and all neighbouring communities of the injustice for the two victims,” reads the report. “Further, it would create a greater divide within the area that is unnecessary and frankly display the holes in the justice system.” 

Bilodeau is under a no-contact order and therefore cannot have any direct or indirect contact with the victims’ family. 

“As the Board places more weight on the positive aspect of your case, it concludes the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating circumstances and concludes that your risk while on unescorted absences will not be undue. The UTAs are seen as desirable as it will allow you to maintain relationships with family members, and with pro-social church members and a return to following your faith.” 

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