Friends and family of Ricky Bear erupted into cheers in a Prince Albert courtroom Tuesday as the man accused of killing the Muskoday First Nation member two years ago was convicted of second-degree murder.
It took a jury a little over 90 minutes to come back with a guilty verdict against Wayne Moshenko who was also convicted of assault and breach of recognizance.
Ricky’s brother Ted Bear says the family is happy with the verdict but it doesn’t erase the pain of what has happened.
“My family’s been through hell, all the last two years it’s been a living nightmare,” he says. “Going through all the court process and all these adjournments, dealing with both of the co-accused, it’s just been a nightmare, a rollercoaster ride, and now we can finally turn the page and move on with the rest of our shattered lives.”
He adds the murder of his brother has rocked the small community.
“It had a ripple effect through our small community of Muskoday, it just basically shattered and devastated all of our community membership. Something like this has never happened out there.”
During the trial, court heard Ricky Bear, Moshenko, a man named Cody Walker and a group of others left the Muskoday reserve in a pickup truck on the morning of Aug. 6, 2011.
The group had been drinking heavily and at some point the truck got stuck in some ruts on a road outside of Prince Albert.
The three men exited the truck and, for reasons unknown, Walker struck Bear with his fist.
At some point, it is alleged Moshenko joined in and Bear was eventually beaten to death.
Ricky’s nephew Harley Bear, who witnessed the incident, ran and broke into a nearby farmhouse and phoned 911 to report his uncle’s murder.
During cross-examination at the trial, the then 16-year-old Harley Bear said he was unsure if Moshenko actually participated in the beating of his uncle.
He would later change his testimony under re-examination that he did indeed see Moshenko take part in the beating.
A DNA expert told the court that blood found on Moshenko’s clothing matched that of Ricky Bear.
In an earlier trial, Cody Walker pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Bear’s death.
Moshenko returns to court for sentencing on Oct. 16.