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Saskatoon couple who filmed assault get prison sentences for beating man to death

Trinity Squirrel's family remembers the young man as a smart, hard worker who loved poetry. (Conley Funeral Home - image credit)
Trinity Squirrel's family remembers the young man as a smart, hard worker who loved poetry. (Conley Funeral Home - image credit)

A Saskatoon couple is going to prison after pleading guilty to filming themselves beating a man to death.

Justice Mona Dovell accepted a joint sentencing submission this week from Crown prosecutor Lee Hnatiuk and lawyers Sarah Gryba and Shea Neudorf.

They had recommended a 12-year sentence for Bret Rattlesnake and six years for Chelsea Swiftwolf after the pair pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 22-year-old Trinity Squirrel. He died April 15, 2022.

Squirrel's partner, Shanelle Crowe, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in November and was sentenced to four years.

Squirrel's mother Jamie Young spoke about her son and his life in an interview with CBC in May 2022.

Jamie Young, right, said that the passing of her son Trinity Squirrel, left, has been difficult and she is trying to be with others to help her cope with his death.
Jamie Young, right, said that the passing of her son Trinity Squirrel, left, has been difficult and she is trying to be with others to help her cope with his death.

Jamie Young, right, told CBC in 2022 that the death of her son Trinity Squirrel, left, was difficult and she was trying to be with others to help her cope with his death. (Submitted by Jamie Young)

The court heard that Young has since died, but a victim impact statement from her was among many that were presented in court.

Young described her son as an active father and family member. He was a volunteer firefighter who enjoyed creating art and poetry. His family has struggled with his passing and described him as "always smiling."

Squirrel's 19-year-old sister, Serenity Squirrel, said that the bond between two siblings is unbreakable. She also spoke to CBC in 2022 about the love she will always hold for her late brother.

"There's a connection that you can never really spark with anybody else," Serenity said.

Cocaine and whisky

Hnatiuk read an agreed statement of facts in court that detailed the final 24 hours of Squirrel's life.

Squirrel and Crowe had gone to a Slipknot concert in Saskatoon on April 14, 2022, heading back to Crowe's home after the show to drink Jack Daniels before heading out again to Pink Bar and Lounge.

It's there that the couple met Swiftwolf and Rattlesnake.

During the next 12 hours, court heard how the foursome drank two 40-ounce bottles of whisky and snorted cocaine off a house key. They also argued, the disputes escalating into physical violence.

Court heard how that, around mid-morning on April 15, Rattlesnake began filming himself and Swiftwolf kicking and punching Squirrel while he lay on the floor on his back, moaning and not defending himself.

The brutality of the assault in the six-minute video silenced the full courtroom.

Court heard that Rattlesnake voiced concerns he may be charged with attempted murder, so he convinced the two women to load Squirrel into a van and dump his body on the side of a road outside the city. Rattlesnake disposed of Squirrel's phone, keys and eyeglasses.

Passersby found Squirrel that morning. He died at the scene.

Crowe was arrested after she filed a missing person report with a lengthy statement that implicated herself, Swiftwolf and Rattlesnake.