A woman charged in connection to the murder of Tiki Brook-Lyn Laverdiere appeared by CCTV in North Battleford Provincial Court Sept. 18 on other charges stemming from an incident earlier in 2019.
Nikita Sandra Cook, 33, was sentenced to 60 days concurrent on various charges from January to June of 2019. She has been in custody at Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women in Prince Albert since her arrest in August 2019 on murder charges. Cook used 40 of the days she has served there so far towards the 60-day jail sentence handed down Sept. 18 by Judge D. J. O’Hanlon.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Chris Browne and defence lawyer Leslie Sullivan entered a joint submission on those charges. Cook pleaded guilty to providing a false name to police, failing to report to a probation officer, being at large, and one count of failing to appear in court. The Crown withdrew two charges of failing to appear in court and one count of breaching a curfew.
The court heard that on Jan. 13, 2019 the Battlefords RCMP received a call from a local business about a woman seen driving a stolen vehicle. Police quickly located the vehicle on 110 Street and saw a woman get out of the vehicle and run into a nearby house. When police when to the door, the woman, later identified as Nikita Cook from Onion Lake Cree Nation, gave the officer a false name.
The Crown also told the court that on June 17, 2019, RCMP received an alert that the transmitter on Cook’s ankle monitoring bracelet was tampered with. Police went to the door where Nikita Cook lived and her mother told the officer that she wasn’t home and that she saw her daughter cut off her ankle bracelet.
On June 10, 2019, Saskatchewan RCMP announced that Tiki Lyn-Laverdiere’s disappearance was the result of foul play and they would be investigating her disappearance as a homicide.
Laverdiere’s body was found in a rural area near North Battleford in July 2019 when Battlefords RCMP and RCMP Major Crimes were conducting a ground search as part of their investigation. A police dog found the remains.
Laverdiere was reported missing to the Battlefords RCMP on May 12, 2019, after her family last heard from her on May 1, 2019, when she sent a text message from North Battleford saying she wanted to return home to Edmonton.
On Aug. 8, 2019, Battlefords RCMP charged Nikita Cook with first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection to Laverdiere’s murder. Police issued a Canada-wide warrant and Cook was arrested in Edmonton on Aug. 15, 2019.
A total of 10 people were arrested in Saskatchewan and Alberta for Laverdiere’s murder.
The other nine include Shayla Orthner, 27, of North Battleford, Danita Thomas, 32, of North Battleford, Brent Checkosis, 18, of North Battleford, Jesse Sangster, 23, Nicole Cook, 37, of Edmonton, Soaring Eagle Whitstone, 33, of Onion Lake Cree Nation, Mavis Quinn Takakenew of North Battleford, Charles St. Savard, of Edmonton, and Samuel Takakenew of Edmonton.
Earlier this year two of the 10 charged were sentenced for their part in Laverediere’s murder. Brent Checkosis was given seven-years for accessory after the fact to murder. Mavis Quinn Takakenew was sentenced to 18 months for accessory after the fact to murder. The court ordered a ban on publication on sentencing hearings for Checkosis and Takakenew until the trials of all the co-accused are finished.
Nikita Cook elected to be tried by Queen’s Bench judge and jury on the murder and kidnapping charges. The trial is scheduled for Jan 11 - March 5, 2021, in Battleford Court of Queen’s Bench.
Proceedings at the provincial court level have also wrapped up for Orthner and Nicole Cook with the matters now headed to Battleford Court of Queen’s Bench. Orthner will stand trial on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and improper interference with a human body. Nicole Cook will stand trial on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, improper interference with a human body and theft of motor vehicle.
Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Jesse Sangster and Soaring Eagle Whitstone in September and November respectively. Sangster pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping and, improper interference with a human body. Whitsone elected to be tried in Court of Queen’s Bench on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and improper interference with a human body.
Danita Thomas, Charles St. Savard and Samuel Takakenew had appearances scheduled in North Battleford Provincial Court Sept. 18. Their appearances in court, however, were waived. Thomas, St. Savard and Takakenew are scheduled to be back in North Battleford Provincial Court on Oct. 23.
-With files from John Cairns/Battlefords News Optimist