Trenna Toto felt relief when she heard that charges had been laid over the shooting death of her 23-year-old-son, Keenan, in December 2019. But now, with her son still missing from her life, she's not sure how to feel.
"Now we know who, but now we are wondering why," said Toto.
Dillon Ricky Whitehawk, 25, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder over the deaths of Toto, 27-year-old Jordan Denton and 29-year-old Keesha Cree Alexandra Bitternose, on Thursday.
"I was shocked when I seen the person ... I expected somebody different," said Toto, who wants to see justice for his son's death.
"He shouldn't be allowed to even step foot outside the jail system ever," she said.
"I want to see him behind bars for the rest of his life. I have so much anger towards him right now."
Whitehawk, who has previously lived in the Cote First Nation, was either wanted by police or out on bail on conditions when he is alleged to have committed each of the killings.
He had been ordered by the court to stay away from Regina at the time of Bitternose's death.
Toto said she felt anger when she heard that Whitehawk had been released from custody multiple times around the time of the three deaths.
"But I'm glad, like, now that they got him off the streets, at least he won't be able to do this to other families," she said.
"What we went through all this time was like a bad nightmare."
Even knowing that her son is gone, and even after the funeral, Toto said it is still hard to believe that Keenan is not coming back.
Toto said her son was quiet and reserved. She never expected he would be killed violently.
He was most happy when he was around his family and children, she said. Toto's favourite thing about her son was that he told her he loved her often, and that he was always looking out for his family.
His wife, Jacqueline Kequahtooway, said in a previous interview that when Toto left their home, he was going to pick up a small amount of weed which he had been using to curb a meth addiction.
"He wanted to turn everything around, and he was like you know what, he said 'I'm going to beat this shit,'" she said. "It's been rocky, and I know he hated being on crystal meth."
She said he always kept any drug use separate from his children.
"He had such a strong set of good morals when it came to his family," added Kequahtooway in a statement released after the new charges on Thursday.
After Keenan died, the family had memory bears made for his his two little girls, Xadia and Zulay.
Each one has Keenan's fingerprint embossed in one of its paws, and a tag with his photo and name on it attached. Toto said Keenan's children tell the bears "goodnight daddy" before they go to sleep at night.
If she could say something to Dillon Whitehawk, she said she would tell him that Keenan's children would now have to grow up without a father.
"Dillon, him, he has his life," said Toto.
"He's still alive and still walking around here, even though he's behind bars he still has a beating heart. My son doesn't, he's gone forever."
Toto said she plans to attend all of Whitehawk's court appearances, even though she expects learning what happened will be hard.
She thanked the Regina Police Service for the work they put into Keenan's case, and the cases of Bitternose and Denton.
Regina Police Supt. Corey Zaharuk said on Thursday that he is proud of the work of investigators.
"Our police service is constantly focused on individuals who are seriously compromising public safety, and it's clear that Dillon Whitehawk was not the only one, but one of a handful, that we were aware of and we were trying our best to stay on top of him," said Zaharuk.
Timeline of Whitehawk's arrests and Regina deaths
- Sept. 19, 2019: Regina police arrested Whitehawk during a traffic stop for allegedly having had unauthorized firearms and other weapons.
- Oct. 31, 2019: Warrants are issued for Whitehawk's arrest after he fails to attend a scheduled court appearance.
- Dec. 2, 2019: Members of the police canine unit recognize Whitehawk and arrest him because he is wanted on outstanding warrants for missing the Oct. 31 court appearance. He is held in custody.
- Dec. 11, 2019: Whitehawk is released on bail with conditions including that he not live in or be in the city of Regina.
- Jan. 4, 2020: Whitehawk is arrested again after police learn he is back in Regina. Whitehawk was arrested at a convenience store and charged with resisting arrest, possession of a concealed weapon, breaching his conditions, careless use of a firearm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, along with other firearm-related offences in relation to an incident that occurred in Regina on Jan. 3.
- Jan. 5, 2020: Officers receive a report of an unresponsive person on the 1500 block of Cameron Street at about 10:53 p.m. Police find Bittnernose's body inside the home.
- Feb. 11, 2020: Kelly Renee Stonechild, 26, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with Bitternose's death.
- Feb. 13, 2020: Police announce first-degree murder charges against Dillon Whitehawk and 20-year-old Kurtis Clayton of Saskatoon in connection with the death of Bitternose. Whitehawk is also charged with first-degree murder over the deaths of Denton and Toto.
With files from CBC's Kendall Latimer