Inquest into Sask. Penitentiary inmate death postponed due to COVID-19

An inquest into the death of a Saskatchewan Penitentiary inmate has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A coroner’s inquest into the death of Daniel James Tokarchuk was scheduled to be held in Prince Albert from April 27 to May 1.

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According to Correctional Service Canada, Tokarchuk, then 44, was rushed to a Prince Albert hospital and pronounced dead at 4:24 a.m. June 7, 2017.

At the time of Tokarchuk’s death he was serving a sentence for second-degree murder since December 2004 for gunning down Trevor Savoie, a Hells Angel associate, in Winnipeg, Man., in 2002, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

Exactly one year to the day after Savoie was gunned down by Tokarchuk, Tokarchuk’s brother Kevin was shot in the head and police said they believed the shooting was a revenge killing.

After Kevin Tokarchuk’s murder, letters were sent to Winnipeg city hall calling for the police chief to be fired over the handling of the murder case, according to CBC. After his shooting death, eight police officers were put on administrative leave. It was alleged they knew about a plot to kill Kevin Tokarchuk. They were later cleared of any criminal charges.

Tokarchuk wasn’t the only inmate to die at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary on June 7, 2017. Christopher Van Camp was murdered June 7, 2017, by his cellmate  Tyler Vandewater. Vandewater was found guilty of second-degree murder in March 2020. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Prince Albert Court of Queens Bench on June 5, 2020.

The inquest into Tokarchuk’s death is the second one scheduled this year. In February 2020 an inquest was held into the death of inmate Curtis Cozart who died by suicide.

Prison staff found Cozart, 30, hanging in his cell on May 23, 2017. He was declared dead at 10:50 p.m. on May 24, 2017, in a Prince Albert hospital. 

The six-person jury for Cozart’s inquest recommended that guards be allowed to call 911. They also recommended that these changes in policy for correctional officers be confirmed by signature with each officer signing that he has read and understands the changes.

The jury also recommended that during security patrols there should be no less than one correctional officer left in a central location, such as “the Dome” at Saskatchewan Penitentiary. 

Inquests into inmate deaths at federal penitentiaries are mandatory. CSC reviewed the circumstances of Tokarchuk’s death but haven’t released information on how he died.

The inquest into Tokarchuk’s death was cancelled and to be rescheduled at a later date yet to be determined.

 

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