Watch above: A Breton family is upset the Crown refuses to prosecute a man they believe killed their loved one in Edmonton in 2013. The accused had been arrested and charged with second degree murder, but those charges were stayed by the Crown last year. Eric Szeto reports.
EDMONTON — The siblings of a Breton, Alberta man who died after being stabbed outside an Edmonton convenience store in late 2013 hope the man who was charged with their brother’s death is brought to justice, even though the charges against him have been stayed.
“We loved him very much and he meant a lot to us,” said Erica Block, Travis Untinen’s younger sister.
Travis Untinen, 36, died in hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 after an altercation outside a Mac’s convenience store near 107 Avenue and 104 Street.
Police told Untinen’s family he was giving a man a ride in exchange for $5 the evening of Dec. 17. Untinen, who struggled with addiction, would offer rides as a way to make extra cash, according to his family.
A physical fight broke out between the pair when the man refused to pay for the $5 ride, witnesses said. The passenger allegedly threw the first punch. Matt Untinen said his brother was stabbed after fighting back.
Randal Gladue, 25, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
“At the time of the arrest they said it was an open and shut case,” said Block.
“As we understood it, he (Gladue) had a couple of trial dates and then had a pre-trial set for February of 2015,” Matt added.
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But the charges against Gladue were stayed in June 2014. Matt said his family was not made aware of the development in the case until September.
“They basically told us that they saw it as a clear case of self defence and that they didn’t think there was a reasonable likelihood of conviction,” Matt said after speaking with the Crown prosecutor’s office.
“We were shocked, obviously. We had no indication whatsoever that it was self defence. We were just in disbelief.”
The Crown said the file was reviewed by “several senior Crown Prosecutors.” Dan Laville issued the following statement to Global News in relation to the case:
“One of the tests in determining whether to proceed with a case is to determine if there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction. In this case, several senior Crown Prosecutors reviewed the file and came to the conclusion there was not a reasonable likelihood of conviction. The test as to whether or not to prosecute a charge applies in all cases, including one such as this where there has been a tragic loss of a human life.”
The charges against Glaude can be reactivated within one year of the date the stay was entered, Laville added.
Staff Sgt. Bill Clark with the Edmonton Police Service previously told other media outlets he disagreed with the Crown’s decision. An EPS lawyer reviewed the case and also said there was enough to convict the accused. Clark recently told Global News he would not comment on the matter further, only saying in late December 2014 police had a meeting with the Crown.
“We think the Edmonton police have done a very good job and now we would just like all that hard work to continue on and see some results in this case,” said Matt.
“I’m just hoping it goes to trial,” added Block. “At least to have it reviewed by an independent Crown.”
Untinen’s siblings describe him as a free spirit who loved to travel. They miss and think about their brother every day and hope speaking out about his case will urge the Crown to reactivate the charges against Gladue.
“He was part of our family,” Matt said. “He was our big brother.”
Gladue did not respond to a request for comment from Global News.
With files from Eric Szeto, Global News.
© Shaw Media, 2015