Levi Cayen has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for manslaughter and seven for robbery in connection with the 2017 robbery and death of Alex Norwegian, but will spend, at most, four-and-a-half years in jail due to concurrent sentences and credit for time in remand.
In handing down the verdict in Northwest Territories Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Shannon Smallwood said Cayen played an active role in the beating and robbing of Alex Norwegian.
However, she noted Cayen had expressed remorse multiple times, including by making an anonymous 9-1-1 phone call after the crime, and expressing remorse during pre-trial.
She said circumstances related to Cayen’s Dene background — including the inter-generational trauma of a father who survived the 1960s Scoop and maternal grandparents who survived residential school — alleviated his responsibility only somewhat.
“They were prepared for violence, and showed no hesitation in resorting to violence,” Smallwood said of the perpetrators.
She described the violence against Norwegian as “extreme, gratuitous and not necessary.”
Cayen’s lawyer, Alan Regel, had argued that his client was a reluctant participant who had been “pestered” into aiding in the crime, and that his judgement had been impaired by alcohol. He requested two years minus one day, as well as credit for time served, for his client.
Crown prosecutor Duane Praught had requested 15 years for manslaughter and 10 years for robbery.
In December of 2017, 25-year-old Norwegian was robbed, beaten, and left to die of hypothermia in his vehicle on the Katl’odeeche First Nation.
Prior to the sentence, Cayen briefly addressed the court. Speaking in a low mumble, he said he had been “working to improve myself” since being incarcerated. This included meeting with counsellors to overcome trauma and substance abuse, as well as working towards obtaining his GED.
He also addressed the family directly.
”I’d like to also apologize to the family of Alex,” he said. “I’m so sorry for the pain and loss you had to go through, and still have to go through.
“I realize I may never earn your forgiveness, but I truly feel awful for what happened.
“As time goes by, I can only hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.”
Cayen’s three co-conspirators have already been sentenced: Sasha Cayen, Tyler Cayen, and James Thomas.