A man accused of fatally shooting two Métis hunters in Alberta in 2020 spent the night following the killings destroying evidence, including cutting up the rifle used in the attack, an Edmonton trial heard Thursday.
Anthony Bilodeau also admitted lying to RCMP three days later and denied causing their deaths.
Bilodeau, 33, and his father, 58-year-old Roger Bilodeau, are on trial in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench. Both are charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the March 27, 2020 killings of Jacob Sansom, 39, and Sansom's uncle, Maurice Cardinal, 57.
Sansom and Cardinal died at a remote intersection outside the village of Glendon, 215 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.
Anthony Bilodeau was on the witness stand all day Wednesday and again on Thursday morning, testifying in his own defence.
Court has previously heard that Sansom and Cardinal had spent March 27, 2020 moose hunting, then socializing with friends.
Two of Roger Bilodeau's younger children have testified that they were worried and suspicious when a blue pickup turned into their driveway that night, just outside Glendon.
Court has also heard that Roger Bilodeau and his then-16-year-old son Joseph decided to chase the vehicle. While driving at speeds that reached 152 km/h, Roger called Anthony and asked him to bring a gun.
Under questioning from his defence lawyer, Anthony Bilodeau portrayed himself, his father and brother as victims who acted in self-defence.
He told the jury his father called him at 9:46 p.m. to say, "We caught the thieves. They came back. You've got to get over here."
Bilodeau told defence lawyer Brian Beresh that his father told him to bring a gun, "just in case." He said he was alarmed, so he rushed out of the house, grabbed a rifle and ammunition and tried to catch up
On Thursday, Crown prosecutor Jordan Kerr challenged Bilodeau about joining the pursuit.
"You could have told him, 'Dad, this is ridiculous. Pull over and call the police,'" Kerr said. "There were any number of places along that range road where they could have just pulled over and stopped."
Bilodeau agreed, but said he felt he needed to protect his family.
"Against what?" Kerr asked. "A vehicle that was driving away from them?"
Bilodeau told Beresh Wednesday that his fear grew as he raced toward the location. He said he was still on the phone with his father and brother when he heard a window being smashed and his brother screaming.
"It was at the top of his lungs," he testified. "It made the hair on your neck stand up. Then I heard a man's voice say, 'Go get a knife so I can kill these f--kers.'"
He said he was worried he wasn't going to get to the scene in time after he heard his little brother begging someone not to kill his dad.
"I was devastated," Bilodeau said. "I was wiping tears on the way there."
He said that when he arrived, he saw a man standing outside his father's open truck door. The man had both hands around his father's neck, he said.
The prosecutor challenged that claim, based on distance and darkness.
"You didn't see anyone choking your dad," Kerr said. "That's another lie you told, right?"
"Absolutely not," Bilodeau replied.
"But you're putting bullets in your gun," Kerr said. "You've already made the decision you're going to get out with a loaded gun."
Bilodeau admitted that he loaded the rifle in five seconds, then got out of his truck and loudly racked his weapon in what he agreed was a show of force.
"Did you consider that getting out of that truck with a loaded gun might really escalate the situation?" Kerr asked.
"I thought it might de-escalate the situation," Bilodeau responded. "These men were already threatening to kill my family."
Bilodeau told the jury that Jacob Sansom approached him unarmed, with his fists clenched.
During direct examination, he said he backed up when he thought Sansom was trying to grab his gun.
But during cross-examination, he admitted Sansom never touched his gun or laid a hand on him.
"And you shot him in the chest about 20 seconds after you got out of your truck," Kerr said.
"He said he was going to kill me," Bilodeau responded.
"I'm going to suggest to you that's a lie," the prosecutor shot back.
"Absolutely not," said Bilodeau.
"The reality is you were angry when you shot him in the chest, right?" Kerr said.
"Absolutely not," Bilodeau repeated.
No shots fired at accused
Bilodeau testified that immediately after he shot Sansom, he racked his gun to get the next shot ready, but his gun jammed.
He said Maurice Cardinal was approaching him, holding a gun and threatening to kill him, so he ran toward a ditch.
"I turned around and he still had his gun pointed at me," Bilodeau told his lawyer, adding that he asked the other man to please put his gun down.
"I managed to un-jam my gun and then I yelled again, 'We just want to talk,'" he testified.
Bilodeau fired his weapon, then reloaded and ran up to the other men's truck.
"Then I shot twice. Quickly. One after the other," he said.
During cross-examination, Bilodeau admitted that Cardinal fell to the ground after he fired a second shot. He said he didn't see the other man holding a gun when he took the final two shots.
RCMP found the gun in the back seat of the truck. There was no clip in the weapon.
"You knew [Cardinal] was a witness, right?" Kerr challenged. "You knew he had seen you shoot Mr. Sansom, right?
"You went back and shot him a third time to make sure he was dead, right?"
"Absolutely not," Bilodeau responded. He said that even after he'd been shot three times, Cardinal was still threatening to kill him.
"You're lying," Kerr said. "He was physically incapable of saying that.
"He was dying."
'Deliberate, calculated lies'
Bilodeau admitted in court that when he got home he began destroying evidence. He removed distinctive lights from the front of his truck to change the vehicle's appearance.
He cut his .30-30 rifle into four or five pieces, put them in a box and wrapped the box in a garbage bag, then drove to a dumpster 20 minutes away to get rid of the bag. He dumped the lights in a different location.
When he was questioned by RCMP on March 31, 2020, he lied about the truck lights and didn't mention owning a .30-30 rifle.
Bilodeau also said he was in bed on that Friday night and had nothing to do with Sansom and Cardinal's deaths.
"You were telling all these deliberate, calculated lies because in your own mind, you knew what you were doing wasn't lawful," Kerr said. "You knew you weren't acting in self-defence."
Again, Bilodeau answered, "Absolutely not."
He had the same response to the Crown's final question during cross-examination.
"The reality is you and your father decided to take the law into your own hands and chase these men, right?"
"Absolutely not," Bilodeau testified.
The trial continues.