VIDEO: Alberta teen found guilty of shooting German tourist, leaving him paralyzed

The boy, who cannot be publicly identified, was from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation

The crashed car of 60-year-old Horst Stewin who was shot in the left side of the head by someone in a passing car is shown in this undated court handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Alberta Courts

A youth has been found guilty of shooting a German tourist in the head on a highway west of Calgary last year in what court heard was likely a case of mistaken identity.

A judge convicted the boy from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, who cannot be identified because he was 16 at the time, of aggravated assault and recklessly discharging a firearm into a vehicle.

Court heard that Horst Stewin was driving a black SUV on the First Nation’s land in the foothills of the Rockies with his family when someone in a passing car shot him. His vehicle veered off the highway and crashed into some trees.

Stewin survived and was transported back to Germany, where doctors removed eight bullet fragments from his brain. He is paralyzed on his right side, gets confused and has memory issues.

“In respect to the eyewitness testimony and statements, the Crown has proven that (the 16-year-old) was the shooter,” said Judge George Gaschler in a brief statement in court.

The youth, who is now 17, stared blankly when the verdict was read. He later smiled and waved at his family members who were in the courtroom.

A sentencing hearing is to be held on Feb. 10. Both a Gladue report, which considers an offenders Indigenous background as part of the sentencing process, and a psychological assessment have been ordered.

The trial heard how Stewin and his family were in the area because Stewin rides horses and was a fan of the western lifestyle.

Stewin’s wife told police that a vehicle passed by with its front-passenger window rolled down, and a man wearing a ball cap shot her husband. She said she heard a pop and smelled smoke before Stewin slumped forward.

“Ms. Stewin’s eyewitness testimony is subject to the limitations of the fleeting time of observation, her recollection impacted by an immediate, unknown fear and stress of the situation to the natural effort to make sense of an event that is so out of the normal,” the judge said in his written ruling.

“Her testimony is correct in part, incorrect in part and uncertain in part.”

Three other people who were in the car with the teen testified that the teen was the shooter, although they said they had not actually watched him pull the trigger.

The car’s driver testified that he and his three passengers had been drinking vodka and smoking meth that day. He said he thought the black SUV belong to a man who had beaten up his younger brother.

The defence argued that the witness’s statements were hard to believe, but the judge disagreed.

“I find that the three witnesses … each in their own way and each from their own position and perspective identify (the accused) as the shooter.”

Gaschler also believed a Facebook message attributed to the accused boasting about the shooting and how the police were looking for him.

“It was made with the obvious knowledge of (the teen) that he was vulnerable to penal consequences,’ ” the judge found.

READ MORE: Interviews with family of highway shooting victim heard in Calgary court

Defence lawyer Balfour Der said he was disappointed.

“I thought there was plenty of reasonable doubt in this case based primarily on the quality of these witnesses the prosecution called,” he said outside court.

He said he will assess the verdict before deciding whether to appeal.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Joe Lang celebrated his 105th birthday with a family gathering on Nov. 10th at Paragon Place

Joseph Lang was born in Saskatchewan on Nov. 12th, 1914, the fourth oldest in a family of 10

Stettler’s Heartland Youth Centre launches fundraising raffle for brand new vehicle

A sleek and shiny 2020 GMC Terrain is the featured prize

Alberta Justice Minister advocates UCP rural crime plan

Expanded property rights, more power to peace officers, demonetizing scrap mental part of UCP plan

Listening to Christmas music too early could affect your mental health

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, says preemptive Christmas music can trigger anxiety

Rebels ride 3-goal first period to 4-3 win over Brandon

Goaltender Byron Fancy with key saves in third period to save game

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses murder appeals in 2013 Calgary swarming death

Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera were convicted in 2016 of second-degree murder

One year on, most oil-and-gas bailout money has moved, federal government says

Sweden’s central bank says it has sold its Alberta-government issued bonds

Ski resorts selling mountain water is a risky move, critics say

Alberta allowed ski resort in Kananaskis Country to sell about 50 million litres to third party

Sportsnet looks at new options for Coach’s Corner time slot, post-Don Cherry

Spokesperson says Hall of Fame feature on tap this weekend after co-host’s firing

CN Rail confirms job cuts as weakening economy cuts into freight volumes

Railroad also said it was affected by a slowdown in the B.C.’s forestry sector

New case of vaping-related illness in Quebec brings national total to 8

Quebec health minister considering tightening the rules around vaping products

Greens to vote against Liberal throne speech unless carbon targets toughened: May

Green leader Elizabeth May and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Friday, discussing common ground

Most Read