Robyn Laura Ermine has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Evan Tyler Bear, 27, who was killed in 2015 on Muskoday First Nation.
After more than eight hours of deliberating, the jury came back to deliver the verdict but sentencing won't happen until Friday. The judge decided to let Ermine go with her family instead of spending the next day in jail.
He made the decision based on the fact that Ermine has been living in the community with an electronic monitor already and there has been no problems. He also took into account the late hour.
Her lawyer Adam Masiowski told the court the verdict caught the defence offguard.
“We are disappointed with the verdict, but we respect the jury process and accept their decision,” he said after the court closed for the night. “We have appeal options, of course, but for now we will take a few days to deal with sentencing and consider what our next move might be.”
He said the only available sentence is life with the minimum parole eligibility being 10 years and the maximum being 25 years.
The jury had no sentencing recommendations to give.
The main issue put to the jury was whether Ermine's use of force was reasonable.
The court heard she and Bear were engaged in a fatal domestic dispute the night of Bear's death in 2015. Neither lawyer involved in the case disputed Ermine struck the fatal blow but her lawyer argued it was a case of self-defence.
The Crown disagreed and said Ermine was a willing participant in a domestic fight and used unreasonable force.
Ermine's mother, Leona Bear, said nobody won during this trial.
“It was a shock,” she said. “We were going for self-defence. The pictures don't lie. No amount of time is going to bring Evan back.”
Earlier in the day while the jury was deliberating, Bear’s older brother, Darcy, spoke with local media about the trial outside of court.
He said he and his family told Evan not to stay with Ermine as he described the relationship as toxic.
“He wouldn’t have it. He loved her, for whatever reason” he said. “We respected him for it because he stood up for what he believed in. He loved her. We started to accept it towards the end and just let them be. No matter how many times he came to us with busted windows on his vehicle because she freaked out [or] busted glasses because she broke his nose.”
Darcy needed to take a moment when he started talking about his brother. He described Evan as someone who took pride in how he looked, had an interest in the military and enjoyed music so much he was part of a rap group.
He said Evan touched and influenced a lot of people.
“We have our issues with anger but we come from a very good upbringing of respect for women,” he said. “At any given time, at any point had he wanted to ‘win this fight’, he could have but that’s not how we were raised. That’s not who he is, that’s not who he was.”
During the trial, the court heard Ermine and Evan argued throughout the day of his death. The fighting escalated and became more physical after the pair spent the night drinking with Ermine’s step-sister, according to the accused’s testimony.
She wanted Evan to leave so she threw his shoes out the door. That’s when she said he grabbed her by the neck. She said as she was being choked she reached to grab what she thought was a knife-sharpener.
Darcy said whenever Evan got angry he would take a two-minute break to cool off but he believes Robyn never gave him that opportunity.
“Anyone who knows Evan doesn’t get to say this is probably what happened with Evan,” he said. “The choking part, I don’t agree with. If anything, I could see Evan trying to calm her down to try to talk to her. There’s not a chance he was choking her.”
Darcy, a police officer with the Prince Albert Police Service, thanked the work of the RCMP, the jury for doing their duty and the lawyers involved. He believes the Crown did a good job in putting forward a strong case.
“I just hope (the jury) takes into account the glorified victim Robyn is trying to portray herself as and take into consideration my brother was a human being she took away from everybody,” he said. “I’m hoping that is taken into consideration as well as everything she’s trying to portray herself as.”
He added he was not angry at Robyn directly but of the choices she made and not taking responsibility for her actions.
-With files from Taylor MacPherson
On Twitter: @labinereporter
Editor's Note: Commenting on this story is closed now that the case is before the courts. This story was updated at 10:15 p.m. May 17. This story has also been updated several times to include the verdict and when the sentencing will take place.
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