The man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the January 2013 death of former Vancouverite Dolan Badger has been sentenced to three years in jail by an Alberta judge.
William Robert Kootenay, 24, was originally charged with murder. He pleaded guilty to the less severe, included charge of manslaughter on Dec 11, claiming he was only protecting himself from a sexual assault that he says happened after a night of drinking, according to an agreed statement of facts filed with the court.
An Alberta Justice spokeswoman tells Xtra that Kootenay was sentenced on June 18 to 36 months, with four months’ credit for time served in jail prior to sentencing. He was also given a 10-year firearms prohibition.
“Nothing can bring Dolan back, and three years seems a small price to pay for ending such a beautiful life,” says Badger’s friend Duane Aucoin. “But it’s better than nothing, I guess.”
The statement of facts presented in the case said Kootenay was staying at the Admiral Inn in Whitecourt, Alberta, with his boss. It says he met Badger when he ran into two former acquaintances, Amanda Boiley and Archie Powder, who were drinking with Badger in the lounge. The four eventually took a taxi back to Boiley and Powder’s house, where they kept drinking.
Kootenay claims he awoke to find his pants pulled down and Badger lying on top of him, not wearing any pants. Kootenay says he pushed Badger off, then struck him in the face and abdomen with his fists and kicked him in the abdomen.
The following morning, at about 7:15am, police responded to a domestic assault call. A constable at the scene heard an agitated Kootenay inside the residence, the statement says. Inside, the constable found Badger on the floor with no pants, a small towel over his genitals. The constable saw a large pool of blood around Badger and Kootenay on the phone yelling, “He tried to rape me.”
“That doesn’t sound like something Dolan would do,” Aucoin told Xtra last year. “He was a very respectful man who worked many years helping his gay family.
“It’s unfortunate that he’s unable to tell his side of the story and there are no witnesses,” he continued. “The gay panic defence is just a validation that it’s okay to kill queers.”
Kootenay offered little resistance when he was arrested for assault, the statement says. “It was noted that Dolan was still conscious though mostly unresponsive,” the statement reads. Badger was pronounced dead about an hour later. An autopsy later found the cause of death was blunt abdominal trauma.
A sexual assault test on Kootenay found no semen in anal or rectal swabs.
Whitewater RCMP Staff Sergeant Rodney Koscielny said at the time of Badger’s death that the case was not considered a hate crime.
“Hate was not involved. It was not a gaybashing,” Koscielny told Xtra. “It was a fight that went wrong.”
Badger, who lived for years in Vancouver, was working as a support and outreach worker with the HIV Network of Edmonton, according to his LinkedIn page.
At the time of his death, Badger was widely remembered as a gentle, kind, warm and deeply supportive two-spirit aboriginal man.