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Sentencing delayed in gay-panic-defence case in Alberta

Dolan Badger’s killer awaits sentence for manslaughter

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

Sentencing proceedings for the man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the Jan 12, 2013, death of Dolan Badger have once more been delayed, this time until June.

William Robert Kootenay claimed he was only protecting himself from a sexual assault that he says happened after a night of drinking, according to a statement of claim filed with the Alberta court.

Kootenay, 24, was initially charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of the 49-year-old HIV outreach worker, artist and former Vancouverite.

According to an agreed statement presented to the Whitecourt, Alberta, judge, Kootenay claims he woke up to find Badger on top of him. Kootenay’s pants were down and Badger had none on, Kootenay alleges.

Kootenay pushed Badger off and repeatedly punched him in the face and kicked him in the abdomen, then left him to die.

Badger’s friend Duane Gastant Aucoin says it sounds like Kootenay is using a gay-panic defence to try to justify his actions. People often use a gay-panic defence to cover up a gaybashing, he told Xtra in December.

“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,” Aucoin says. “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.”

At the time of Badger’s death, he was widely remembered as a gentle, kind, warm and deeply supportive two-spirit aboriginal man. 

Xtra’s attempts to contact Crown prosecutor Robert Marr to ask why he accepted Kootenay’s gay-panic defence have so far been unsuccessful.

Proceedings in the sentencing were initially scheduled for Jan 14, then delayed to Jan 28 while the judge waited for a pre-sentencing report, then delayed again to Feb 25 because the judge was reportedly ill and not sitting that day.

On Feb 25, the court reconvened to set a date for the sentencing, which will now take place on June 18.