One of three men charged in connection with setting homes and a church on fire at a Westman First Nation has pleaded guilty to arson.
The Dakota Ojibway Police Service reported on Monday that three Canupawakpa Dakota Nation men had been arrested in connection with a string of fires set at the First Nation between July 5 and Aug. 28.
On Monday afternoon in Brandon court, Collin Nathaniel Chaske pleaded guilty to the arsons that burned four homes and an abandoned church.
He specifically admitted that he set a fire that destroyed an abandoned home, causing $20,000 damage. He also admitted to taking part in fires that destroyed three other homes that resulted in a total of $450,000 in damage.
In the case of those three homes, Chaske would either wait outside as a lookout, or was inside but didn’t take an active part in setting the fires.
One of the houses was occupied but the resident wasn’t home, another was under construction and the third wasn’t occupied at the time.
As for the church fire, Chaske indicated he doesn’t specifically recall the incident due to drinking, but admitted to playing a part based on the evidence.
The destruction to the abandoned church represented $80,000 in damage, but the structure wasn’t insured.
Chaske’s sentencing has been put back to Nov. 7 to allow preparation of a pre-sentence report that will consider his aboriginal background.
Two other men still face charges.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 1, 2013