Man convicted of murdering brother released on bail after jury verdict

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Days after ignoring the jury’s verdict in his manslaughter case, convicted killer Rylen Heavenfire was released on bail on Friday under strict conditions.

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Judge Michele Hollins agreed with defense attorney Steve Wojick that Heavenfire could be freed pending sentencing, despite missing Monday night when jurors found him guilty of the shooting death of his brother.

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Wojick told Hollins his client went for a walk and lost track of time when he held court for more than two hours while the parties waited for him to return.

When he could not be located, Hollins declared him a fugitive and asked the jury to render their verdict in his absence.

The attorney said that following the ruling, Heavenfire’s sister and grandmother went looking for him and found him returning to court.

But Crown Attorney Vince Pingitore asked Hollins to detain Heavenfire, noting that he did not turn himself in immediately and was to be arrested at his grandmother’s Tsuut’ina Nation home on Tuesday afternoon.

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More importantly, Pingitore noted, Heavenfire showed signs of drinking heavily when picked up.

“A major concern for the Crown … is that the defendant is intoxicated (when arrested),” Pingitore said.

“He has bloodshot eyes, slurred speech (and) smells of vodka… That’s a real concern,” he said.

“He was apparently intoxicated the day after the jury’s verdict.”

Jurors deliberated for just over three hours on Monday before reaching a decision in the case, but then had to sit idle while the court waited for Heavenfire to appear.

It was a mixture of alcohol and firearms that led to Heavenfire’s legal endangerment.

He had hunted and drank with his brother, Randen, in the woods near their grandparents’ home in the country, not far from Bragg Creek, with his brother’s girlfriend and an uncle.

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At one point the brothers got into a fight and Randen Heavenfire was shot in the face with a shotgun blast at close range.

Hollins said Rylen Heavenfire could be released on the same terms as his initial bail order which prohibited contacting Randen’s girlfriend Gabrielle De Loof and prohibited possessing any weapons, including firearms.

She also ordered him to deposit $1,000 in cash, ask his grandmother, Donna Rowan, to post $3,000 bail, and prohibit Heavenfire from consuming alcohol or other intoxicants. .

The case returns to Hollins on October 19, for the Court of King’s Bench judge to determine the facts on which the jury found Heavenfire guilty.

At Wojick’s request, she ordered a psychiatric risk assessment and a report on her Aboriginal background.

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

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