ALBERTA

Shelby Minde Charged In Death Of Chelsea Yellowbird

11/06/2013 05:22 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
CP
HOBBEMA, Alta. - The mother of a woman shot in her home on a central Alberta reserve is finding some solace that police have finally charged a man with murder in her daughter's death.

Chelsea Yellowbird, 23, was shot on the Samson Cree First Nation on Sept. 5, 2011.

Trina Yellowbird said when RCMP told her Wednesday that police had made an arrest, it was like a heavy load was lifted from her shoulders.

"Hearing the news was good but I have mixed emotions right now," Yellowbird said. "Now I can sleep. It will bring me peace. I have been waiting for this."

RCMP have charged 20-year-old Shelby Minde of Hobbema with first-degree murder after a two-year investigation.

Minde was being held in custody and is to appear in Wetaskiwin provincial court. A date has not been set.

The house where Trina Yellowbird's daughter was shot is next door to where her grandson, five-year-old Ethan Yellowbird, was killed while sleeping in his bed two months earlier.

In both cases the shots came from outside the homes.

Yellowbird met with family members Wednesday to talk about the arrest.

She said she had doubts police would ever charge anyone in her daughter's the shooting.

"It was emotional at first," Yellowbird said. "Everybody is happy that there has been an arrest."

Yellowbird said she is determined to follow the case through the courts despite the emotional toll the deaths have caused.

The reserve about 90 kilometres south of Edmonton has struggled with drug- and gang-related violence over the years.

Three teens pleaded guilty to manslaughter last year in youth court for Ethan Yellowbird's death.

They admitted to taking turns firing a gun at a home, accidentally killing the boy.

In 2008, 23-month old Asia Saddleback was shot as she sat at a kitchen table eating dinner.

She survived, but the bullet remained lodged between her liver and spine.

Reserve resident Roy Louis said the arrest in the Chelsea Yellowbird case will reassure people that such violence will not be tolerated.

"As a community member I'm very happy that this has taken place," Louis said. "I think it is very important as part of our healing."

RCMP said their investigation into Yellowbird's death continues.

— By John Cotter in Edmonton

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