CALGARY — Relatives say a Calgary man will appeal his conviction by a jury for shooting his ex-girlfriend and a man during what U.S. prosecutors say was a jealous rage.
Michael Ilk, 41, was sentenced this week in Montana for two counts of attempted deliberate homicide and two counts of aggravated assault for the April 2015 shooting of Tyler Wilson and Hadassah Pereslete.
Ilk's aunt, Cindy Mjolsness, said she and his parents were in the courtroom to see Ilk be sentenced to 200 years in prison with no chance of parole.
Allegedly fired 10 shots
Prosecutors argued he fired about 10 shots at the pair at a construction site in Montana where Pereslete worked, hitting each of them twice.
But defence attorneys argued that Wilson shot first and that Ilk fired back in self-defence.
Mjolsness said her nephew is a Canadian citizen who summered in Montana and who has maintained he is innocent of the charges.
Family shocked at sentence
She said she started to shake when the judge handed down the 200-year sentence.
"We did expect something but this was so far over the top it was shocking,'' she said. "Why did he even say it? Why didn't he just say life with no parole? Really, that's what he's done.''
Mjolsness said her nephew's trial was marred by an elderly jury consisting of members who struggled to hear the proceedings while others napped.
"They were not a jury of his peers, they were a jury of his grandparents,'' said Mjolsness. "If this wasn't so serious and so horrifying, it's laughable.''
Mjolsness said she has been in contact with the Canadian consulate since Ilk's arrest and has been disappointed with the Canadian government's inability to intervene on behalf of her nephew.
"With my last breath, I will do everything to get him out, to get him to a place where justice is served,'' she said. "We need another trial. We need somebody to listen to what's happened here.''
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