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Gay panic defence in Dolan Badger murder

Killer claims attempted rape, pleads guilty to lesser charge

Dolan Badger, an HIV activist and artist who lived for years in Vancouver, is remembered as a gentle, kind and supportive two-spirit man. Credit: facebook.com

The man charged with murder in connection with a fatal assault on former Vancouverite Dolan Badger in January pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter Dec 11, claiming he was only defending himself from Badger’s alleged sexual advances.

William Robert Kootenay, 23, claimed the incident occurred after a night of drinking, according to an agreed statement of facts filed with the Whitecourt, Alberta, court.

The statement of facts indicates that Kootenay was staying at the Admiral Inn in Whitecourt 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 until they fell asleep or passed out. Kootenay claims he awoke to find Badger lying on top of him.

Badger's friend Duane Gastant Aucoin is skeptical. He says it sounds like Kootenay is using a gay panic defence to try to justify his actions.

The statement of facts says Kootenay woke up to find his pants down and Badger wearing none.

Kootenay says he pushed Badger off, then struck him in the face and abdomen with his fists and kicked him in the abdomen.

Boiley did not wake up, but Powder woke up and locked himself in the bathroom, the statement says.

The following morning, at about 7:15am, police responded to a call for a potential domestic assault. A constable arriving at the scene heard Kootenay, clearly agitated, 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 also by a couch and loveseat. A pillow was also covered in blood, the statement says.

The constable observed Kootenay on the phone yelling, "He tried to rape me."

Kootenay was arrested for assault and offered little resistance, the statement says.

"It was noted that Dolan was still conscious though mostly unresponsive," the statement says. Badger was pronounced dead about an hour later. An autopsy found the cause of death was blunt abdominal trauma.

A sexual assault test done 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 said. "It was a fight that went wrong."

But, Aucoin says, no one will ever hear Badger's side of the story.

People often use a gay panic defence to cover up a gaybashing, he says.

"It's used to cover up a hate crime. Put the blame on the victim. He [Badger] didn't deserve that."

"We're just hearing one side of the story," he repeats. "Who knows? Maybe they were having sex. Just because he's saying Dolan was trying to rape him doesn't mean that's what happened. It doesn't sound like the Dolan I know."

Kootenay is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan 14.

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, he was remembered as a gentle, kind, warm and deeply supportive two-spirit aboriginal man.