Myles Brandon Sanderson’s criminal history is both long and violent, beginning in his youth and spanning almost 20 years, with convictions for domestic violence, armed robbery and many other violent attacks, including a double stabbing committed with a fork.
Mr. Sanderson is now wanted for three counts of first-degree murder in one of the deadliest acts of mass violence in the country’s history. RCMP say more charges are expected.
Eleven people are dead after the stabbing rampage that began on the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan early on Sunday morning. Among the dead are Mr. Sanderson’s brother, Damien, who was also a suspect in the stabbings, and who had been charged with one count of first-degree murder before his body was discovered. Eighteen other people were injured in the attack.
“Your criminal history is very concerning, including the use of violence and weapons related to your index offences, and your history of domestic violence which victimized family, including your children and non-family,” reads a report about Mr. Sanderson’s criminal history prepared by the Parole Board of Canada in February of this year.
At the time, Mr. Sanderson – who RCMP have said is 30, but is described in parole documents as 31 – was serving a four-year, four-month prison sentence for a number of offences, including a violent scene at the home of his domestic partner and children, the attack with the fork, beating a man until he was unconscious, and kicking a police officer in the face and on the top of the head repeatedly.
Mr. Sanderson was not released from prison early, but received statutory release after serving two-thirds of his sentence. Statutory release serves as a way of reintroducing federal offenders more slowly into society, by releasing them under conditions geared toward helping them reintegrate into the community.
His statutory release was suspended once, and Mr. Sanderson had been wanted by police in Saskatchewan since the spring, when he stopped reporting to his parole officer. As of Tuesday evening, Mr. Sanderson remained at large, and was the subject of a manhunt continuing across the Prairies, but particularly focused in Regina.
The offences for which Mr. Sanderson had been in prison began in the summer of 2017, when he barged into his common-law partner’s house in a rage, and, among other things, punched a hole in a bathroom door while the children were being hidden inside, and threw a cement block at a vehicle outside.
A few days later, the documents say, Mr. Sanderson got into an argument with a First Nation band store employee, tried to fight the man, then threatened to murder him and burn down his parents’ house. That fall, he was involved in a gunpoint robbery and another alleged assault.
The fork attack happened in April, 2018. While drinking at a house, Mr. Sanderson assaulted two men with the utensil, then beat a passerby outside and left that victim unconscious in a ditch. In June, 2018, while trying to sneak into his domestic partner’s house, he got into a violent altercation with police. He said officers would have to shoot him, and then assaulted an officer while being taken into custody.
According to the Parole Board of Canada documents, Mr. Sanderson has a total of 59 criminal convictions as an adult, including multiple convictions for aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, simple assault, assaulting a police officer, threatening, mischief, resisting arrest and obstruction, as well as drug and alcohol offences.
The documents say Mr. Sanderson and his siblings grew up in an environment of physical and domestic abuse and instability, and moved between the homes of his parents and other relatives, where they were exposed to substance abuse, neglect and violence. Mr. Sanderson started drinking and smoking marijuana at age 12, using cocaine at 14, and using crystal meth in his late 20s, and has a history of associating with “gang members, drug dealers, pimps and people involved in the party scene,” the documents say.
The documents say he has subjected his partner, with whom he has five children, to domestic violence. A Spousal Assault Risk Assessment found Mr. Sanderson to be at high risk for committing future spousal violence. Other assessments put him in the medium-high risk category for violent reoffence.
The documents note that factors related to Mr. Sanderson’s Indigenous background may have contributed to his involvement in the criminal justice system, including the “intergenerational impacts of residential schools, neglect, exposure to familial and community substance abuse, your own substance abuse issues, exposure to/experiencing domestic violence during your childhood, family fragmentation, lack of education, and loss of culture/spirituality.”
The documents also say Mr. Sanderson has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit disorder, and has taken anti-psychotic medications in the past. The report notes that Mr. Sanderson had made some gains: He seemed to have maintained sobriety, gotten a job and found housing for his family, and was seeing a therapist and taking part in cultural ceremonies.
“The Board recognizes that you have a significant journey to make to change your lifestyle and attitudes to live a prosocial life,” a document reads.
His statutory release involved living under a number of conditions, including having no contact with several people, reporting all domestic relationships and not consuming alcohol or non-prescription drugs.
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