Whitehorse Daily Star

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Justice Edith Campbell

Man sent to prison for manslaughter

A second Carmacks man has been sentenced for his role in the 2017 death of Wilfred “Dickie” Charlie.

By Gabrielle Plonka on September 9, 2020

A second Carmacks man has been sentenced for his role in the 2017 death of Wilfred “Dickie” Charlie.

Mario Skookum, 28, was sentenced to 3½ years in prison on Tuesday morning in Whitehorse.

Skookum pleaded guilty to manslaughter last year. Initially, he had faced a charge of first-degree murder.

Skookum was granted a five-month sentence reduction due to a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom breach during his case.

The Crown failed to disclose some pieces of information during the case. Justice Edith Campbell said the breach was not the most serious, but was not minor either. 

Skookum was additionally sentenced to 30 days in custody for breaching his probation while on bail in 2019.

It was found that Skookum used cocaine while he’d been ordered to abstain from substances. Skookum has remained in custody since that time.

With time served, he has five months remaining in custody.

After he is released, Skookum will serve two years’ probation under several conditions.

He must adhere to a curfew; abstain from drugs and alcohol; attend counselling for substance abuse and trauma; and contact the RCMP or his probation officer before visiting Carmacks. 

The condition of informing local authorities before visiting Carmacks was instilled at the recommendation of Crown prosecutor Lauren Whyte.

During the sentencing hearing last month, Whyte said some community members feared seeing Skookum in the village.

The order is not intended to penalize Skookum, but give sufficient notice to residents, Whyte said.

Skookum is also barred from entering liquor-primary businesses, including bars and liquor stores. 

His sentence also includes a no-contact condition with the individuals who filed victim impact statements to the court.

Skookum will adhere to a 10-year firearms prohibition with exemption for sustenance hunting and trapping or for employment.

Campbell read the agreed statement of facts to the court on Tuesday morning.

On the evening of June 18, 2017, Skookum was drinking alcohol with his cousins, Tyler Skookum and Rossy Skookum. Tyler was the co-accused in this case.

Heavily intoxicated, the three visited Charlie’s house early on the morning of June 19 seeking more alcohol. 

When Charlie refused to give them more alcohol, saying he had none, Tyler began to fight with Charlie. At this point, Rossy left the house.

At some point during this argument, Mario held Charlie down by placing a pillow and knee on Charlie’s back. He demanded that Charlie tell him where his alcohol was.

Tyler then emerged from the kitchen with a knife and began stabbing Charlie.

According to the statement of facts, Mario released Charlie when he realized Tyler was stabbing him. Charlie got up and ran out of the residence, collapsing outside.

Tyler followed Charlie and began moving his body to the bank of the Yukon River. Mario began to help him move the body after Tyler threatened him, but stopped once he realized what he was doing.

Tyler then pushed the body into the river. 

Charlie’s body was found on July 5 by Yukon College (now University) staff and students at the Huchá Hudän Field School near Fort Selkirk.

During sentencing, Campbell said that Tyler was considered to be the main perpetrator in the case. Tyler was sentenced to nine years, with approximately five remaining to serve, last week.

The fact that Mario helped push the body toward the river was an aggravating factor, Campbell said. In addition, Charlie’s death has severely impacted and divided the community of Carmacks. 

Charlie, who was 57 at the time of his death, was described as a keeper of traditional knowledge who had a good sense of humour and was a comforting presence for his family.

He was a skilled carpenter who built his own home in Carmacks. Due to the violent nature of his death, members of the community decided to burn his house. 

Campbell conceded that a prison sentencing could and would not undo the damage and pain caused by Charlie’s death. 

Campbell noted, however, that several mitigating factors exist in Mario’s case.

He was revealed to be an intergenerational residential school survivor and a victim of abuse, home insecurity and alcohol abuse in his family.

Mario pleaded guilty and seemed genuinely remorseful, Campbell said. 

There is no evidence to suggest that Mario forced his way into Charlie’s home on June 19, nor did Mario intend to cause any harm to Charlie when he went to his house, Campbell said.

Since Charlie’s death in 2017, Mario has completed a number of substance abuse programs and has said he doesn’t want to drink again.

Campbell addressed Mario directly at the end of his sentencing on Tuesday.

“You’re still young, you’re under 30, it seems to me that you genuinely want to deal with the issues that brought you before the court and the trauma associated with them,” Campbell said.

“I want to commend you for the steps you have taken so far, and I encourage you to continue on that path.”

Comments (14)

Up 1 Down 1

Dentist on Sep 15, 2020 at 5:06 pm

So you get drunk and hold an older man down in an attempt to steal his liquor.. Then your buddy Tyler comes in and stabs him to death and the two of you push him into the river. Because of Gladue, you are allowed to plead down from first degree murder to manslaughter.

Gladue should not be used in murder cases, sexual assaults, or any violent crime for that matter. Gladue was put in place by a judge who had very little experience in dealing with first nation issues. I wonder what the relatives of the deceased think about that?

Up 18 Down 9

Josey Wales on Sep 13, 2020 at 4:20 am

Hmmm...four days later, a question posed...crickets?
I guess all the cultural historian experts are out at culture camp?
a group hug, is good these days as is our courts SOP.

Remember folks, germs cannot kill you...only many, many recidivist POS/free ranging felons can.
...and boy O boy...does it ever happen in these parts!

He is still young enough to get a couple in his BOLE resume.
...Kinda Like Asp, another convicted murdering POS.
She too must be making dream catchers at culture camp by now, if not completely free of the "oppression"

Germs bad, free ranging felons and herds of YO...up and comers to crimes just as this...awesome ...Keeps many employed from cops, coroners, culture camp and court staff...HELL it is an industry all by itself.
kinda like " Big Pharma","MIC"..."Bigotry of lower expectations" keeps everyone staffed.

Another Question...were there any Charter breaches in Charlie being bled out and discarded like dirty laundry..into the river?
Oh yeah, silly Josey he was the actual victim...the Charter folks care little of he.
Stay tuned folks, for the woes is us tale, and the predictable recidivist maggots that feed on dead meat(our society).

Up 27 Down 2

Wyatt on Sep 11, 2020 at 5:21 pm

@ My Opinion
Yes, this IS what they want. You can’t have Gladue in play only when it is convenient.
This is what sentences look like through the lens of multi generational trauma. Me, I don’t care who you are, you kill someone and throw them in the river then you don’t get to see the light of day. Ever.

Up 29 Down 5

Revolving Door on Sep 10, 2020 at 10:45 pm

Hello Anie - What is even more interesting is that it is well known that programming in jail is essentially wasted dollars due to the dynamics of offender populations. Programs in the community, on probation, have greater success in reducing recidivism. This whole get out of jail thing because you completed an “I’m a Kind Man” 1 day program is absurd. But you will have swaths of Legal Aid squawkers use this absurdity to get their clients reduced or no jail sentence. Heck, it’s to the point now that the lawyers don’t even need to tell their clients to take programming. There is little or no evaluation of the change process and most of what is done is conducted by people who could not manage a paper route.

What’s even funnier is that many offenders have taken the programs so many times they could teach the program much better than the trained program facilitators.

Up 28 Down 11

JC on Sep 10, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Stay away on Sept.9, 2020: Why shouldn't they show their faces in Carmacks? It's their home. They should be sent back. Where else are they to go - Whitehorse? We don't want them here. Take back and care of your own problems.

Up 25 Down 11

JC on Sep 10, 2020 at 8:40 pm

Life is cheap in some cultures. Especially consequences.

Up 28 Down 1

Nathan Living on Sep 10, 2020 at 4:08 pm

He is remorseful and will return from jail to Carmacks as a changed man.

Justice has run its course but not if you live in Carmacks or care for the victim.

Up 51 Down 12

My Opinion on Sep 10, 2020 at 3:13 pm

People of Carmacks and all other First Nations Communities. Is this what you want? Does this make you feel safe?
Until you stand up on mass you will not be safe. It is not the White masses that are killing you in your own communities, you know that.

It is very scary for you, and I feel for you when you get the call that they are returning to their community. This is not right.
If these guys are not in their communities then where are they? Three guesses first two don't count.

Up 68 Down 4

Stay away on Sep 9, 2020 at 8:53 pm

If Mario and Tyler are truly remorseful, they will never show their faces in Carmacks again. Kill somebody in this violent way and receive no consequence. Should be serving life sentences, both of them! Stupid Yukon 'no-justice' system.

Up 51 Down 5

Justice wrongfully applied is justice denied on Sep 9, 2020 at 4:53 pm

A man in Gameti N.W.T. was just sentenced 6 and 1/2 years for the same crime. So much for the hallowed case law that has been used as a hallmark for sentencing in the past. We'll use it this time but not that. They quit announcing which province or Territory had the worst rated justice system because we had a lock on it.

Up 46 Down 7

Crunch on Sep 9, 2020 at 4:19 pm

It won't be long and the word " justice" will be removed from being used and replaced with something with a more liberal tone. The system will make an attempt to weaken the embarassment it is forcing onto itself. It's a good thing we live in a drug society or these people would never sleep.

Up 60 Down 3

Thomas Brewer on Sep 9, 2020 at 4:09 pm

"sent to prison"? meh, not really - 5 more months...
less than 4 years for taking a life... ridiculous

Up 36 Down 7

Josey Wales on Sep 9, 2020 at 4:05 pm

Sorry..not remotely impressed. But motivated to freely express myself, imagine eh?
He did not write bad cheques ...a man dead in his own home... nets that time?

Funny no indignity charges for tossing him in a river...no 10 year firearm ban?
Seems there are HUGE holes in the tale of woe is he.
Mind you he had a coke order, criminal POS do not follow the law..hence criminal POS...they will never get it..the courts..he is not expected to get anything...

We are own our own if this is what those halls of liberal ideologies, sometimes called courts...thinks this is the value of a human.
Way too many Trevor the human types up here mollycoddled from OUR society.

Question for the professional "traditional" historians, not the revisionists kind...
What would be done pre contact when everything was just so so peaceful and rife with harmony say...7000 years back(pre evil whitey)...what happened to killers in the tribes?
Serious question, I will wait...

Again, all points made are relevant to this ridiculous version of "justice".
BOLE is complete bulls**t, and is very rapidly destroying our home.

Up 84 Down 7

Anie on Sep 9, 2020 at 3:33 pm

'I want to commend you for the steps you have taken...'. Yeah, he did what his lawyer told him to do while he was in jail awaiting sentencing, with time on his hands. Yes indeed, that's commendable. And in 5 months he'll be out. Sympathy to the people of Carmacks. You deserve so much better.

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