ST. PAUL - Two men have been charged with second degree murder in relation to the death of a 16-year-old from Goodfish (Whitefish) Lake First Nation.
During the evening of Oct. 2, RCMP responded to a call to assist EMS. Upon arrival, it was determined the teenager was deceased at the scene.
A media release from the organizers of a demonstration that was held on Thursday morning in front of the St. Paul Courthouse confirmed the victim was Zander Jackson.
Sean Steinhauer, 30, and Ryan Cardinal, 32, both of no fixed address, were jointly charged with second degree murder on Dec. 11. The two men were remanded into custody and were scheduled to appear in St. Paul Provincial Court on Dec. 17.
Steinhauer's next court date is set for Jan. 14, 2021, in St. Paul, and Cardinal is scheduled to be in court on Dec. 23 in Cold Lake.
"From the first moments of hearing that Zander’s young life had ended, the family would (like to ) make a statement of praying for forgiveness," reads a media release received from Carmel Crowchild of Carmel Indian Agent 138 Ltd., on behalf of Zander's family.
The release adds, "That (the family) held no hatred and wanted only to honour their beloved Zander. Together, they share their son, grandson and brother with you all. His young life ended too early. He was raised within a family who love him and provided for him. Zander had a passion for wild horse relay, a great brother, willing to dance with his sister, forever bringing laughter and teasing was his nature."
A group of family members gathered in front of the courthouse on Thursday morning, holding signs with Zander's photo, and "Justice for Zander" written on many.
In another statement provided by Crowchild, more insight is given into the effects that Zander's death has had on his family.
"To the court, Zander is a court file number now, as are many other victims. But to us, who stand here, he is more then a court file number, he is his grandmother's 'number one'," reads the statement.
Crowchild further states that she believes the men should be charged with first degree murder.
"Zander's life was just starting out, he was just learning to figure out who he was growing to be," says Crowchild.
She also shared a story relayed by Zander's grandmother, Patsy Jackson. Patsy remembers a day when Zander was just two years old, and he ran up to his grandmother happy and excited. When she bent over to pick Zander up and hug him, he looked at her and said 'Grandma, I'm your number one'."
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