Man charged in connection to murder of Tiki Laverdiere back in court today

One of the 10 people charged in connection to the murder of Tiki Brook-Lynn Laverdiere, 25, is back in North Battleford Provincial Court today.

A preliminary hearing for Jesse Sangster, 23, starts Sept. 28 to determine whether he will face trial for first-degree murder in the death of Laverdiere in 2019.

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Laverdiere was reported missing to Battlefords RCMP May 12, 2019, after her family last heard from her on May 1, 2019, when she sent a text message saying she wanted to return home to Edmonton.

RCMP called Laverdiere’s disappearance a homicide on June 10, 2019. Her body was found the following month. According to police, an RCMP canine unit found Laverdiere’s body July 11, 2019, during a ground search in a rural area outside of North Battleford. She was in North Battleford April 2019 for the funeral of Tristen Cook-Buckle, 20, which was held on Thunderchild First Nation.

Sangster, on his Facebook page, said he is Cook-Buckle’s "brother." Another charged, Nicole Cook, is the mother of Tristen Cook-Buckle. A third charged, Mavis Takakenew, is the mother of Nicole Cook.

Cook-Buckle’s body was found burned in a vehicle near Vegreville, Alta. on April 5, 2019. Hours before Cook-Buckle’s body was found, Edmonton Police responded to a call near 92nd St. and 110th Ave. where they found blood on the ground behind the house. DNA later revealed that it was Cook-Buckle’s blood. His death was ruled a homicide but Edmonton Police haven’t released the cause of death and continue to investigate his murder.

Before Nicole Cook was arrested in 2019, she told CBC that Laverdiere was a close family friend. She also said her son, Tristen Cook-Buckle, had joined a street gang in Edmonton.

Police made 10 arrests in Saskatchewan and Alberta for Laverdiere’s murder.

Seven people were charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, improperly interfering with a human body, and theft of a vehicle. They include Jesse Sangster, 23, of Edmonton, Soaring Eagle Whitstone, 33, of Onion Lake Cree Nation, Shayla Orthner, 27, of North Battleford, Danita Thomas, 32, of North Battleford, Nicole Cook, 37, of Edmonton, Nikita Sandra Cook, 32, of Edmonton, and Charles St. Savard, 33, of Edmonton.

Three people were charged with accessory to murder after the fact. They include Brent Checkosis, 18, of North Battleford, Mavis Quinn Takakenew, 55, of North Battleford, and Samuel Takakenew, 36, of Edmonton.

Two people have already been sentenced for their part in Laverediere’s murder. Brent Checkosis was given seven years in prison for accessory after the fact to murder and Mavis Quinn Takakenew was sentenced to 18 months on the same charge. Takakenew has already been released from prison.

The court ordered a ban on publication on sentencing hearings for Checkosis and Takakenew until the trials of all the co-accused are finished.

Sangster has pleaded not guilty and has been in custody since his arrest July 2019.

North Battleford Chief Crown Prosecutor Chris Browne said previously that about 100 witnesses are expected to testify at the preliminary hearing.

Sangster’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for three weeks. The details of the preliminary hearing are under a publication ban, which prevents publishing any evidence provided during the hearing.

-With files from John Cairns

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