A former gang member — who was loaded with liquor and drugs when he triggered a police standoff and held a knife to the throats of two victims — says he’s trying to change.
Marlon Brent Hotain had 19 drugs in his system at the time of the standoff — including marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. If he’d been driving, he would have had more than four times the legal limit in his system.
"Frankly it’s enough to kill most people," defence lawyer Bob Harrison told court as Hotain was recently sentenced to prison.
But Hotain says he’s now looking forward to a clean life when he gets out and even started an Alcoholic Anonymous group at the Brandon jail.
"Today I feel so good about myself. I think I’ve got a good, clean sober life ahead of myself and I can’t wait to start it," Hotain stated in an apologetic letter to the standoff victims.
Crown attorney Rich Lonstrup said the ordeal was terrifying for the people who were threatened with the knife.
"They were genuinely afraid for their lives ... They did nothing wrong other than they happened to be at the house," Lonstrup said during Hotain’s sentencing.
Hotain, 36, recently received a total of 34 months in prison, minus eight months pre-sentence custody, for assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, uttering threats, use of an imitation firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and resisting or obstructing police.
According to the police report, the standoff started around 1:40 p.m. on Nov. 8. A woman called the Dakota Ojibway Police Service to have an unwanted man removed from her Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation home.
The DOPS officer — "the only one working that day," the report said — was about an 80-kilometre drive away at Birdtail Sioux First Nation.
The caller identified the unwanted man as Hotain and said he was intoxicated and acting strangely. He’d grabbed a knife from the kitchen and was pacing.
The DOPS officer assured the caller that police were on the way, but the woman said Hotain was now holding a knife to her throat and to the throat of her adult son.
"You’re going to die today," the officer heard Hotain tell the woman over the phone.
"Hurry, before he kills us all!" the caller told the officer.
The DOPS officer called Virden RCMP and Sioux Valley DOPS members for backup.
Police arrived at the Canupawakpa home and set up a barricade. There’s no note in court documents how long it took officers to arrive and how many responded.
Hotain emerged from the home clutching knives in both hands and told officers: "You came to the show ... you’re all gonna die."
The distraught man then repeatedly entered and exited the house. Police tried to speak with him, but he said he’d only speak to a certain Brandon Police Service officer who is a former DOPS officer.
At one point, the woman who’d originally called police emerged but Hotain ordered her back inside and shut the door.
Hotain then told police that he’d shoot them all and went back into the house.
A while later, he opened the screen door a little and, crouching, he pointed something out of the doorway as if it were a gun.
From a distance, police believed the object was a rifle and took cover. It turns out, it was a cane, but police didn’t know that at the time.
Meanwhile, the original caller managed to contact the police dispatch, or 911 dispatch, and said Hotain didn’t actually have any guns and claimed he was going to overdose before police could get him.
She revealed that, unknown to Hotain, her two adult grandchildren were also hiding in the home. They’d hid because Hotain told the caller he was going to kill them.
Meanwhile, Hotain wouldn’t let the woman or her son leave the kitchen.
Hotain periodically emerged from the house to yell at police. At one point he told an officer: "If you don’t come meet me outside, if you don’t you’re one of them and you can die with them."
Another time, he came out to the front step to throw a pair of knives onto the ground.
The woman called police again to report that Hotain was increasingly belligerent as he paced about the home and had started to strip.
He then began to gag and roll around on the floor, and the caller’s son managed to get to the doorway and told police that Hotain had been nude and defecated everywhere.
Police spoke to the woman one last time and she indicated now was a good time for officers to enter.
They entered the house to find a sweaty and nude Hotain sitting on the floor. They pepper-sprayed him when he initially failed to respond to orders, but he then complied and was arrested and taken to hospital.
Once released from hospital, he was taken to the Brandon jail and has been in custody since.
No one was hurt during the incident.
During his sentencing in Brandon on Aug. 14, Harrison said Hotain doesn’t remember anything due to the amount of drugs and alcohol in his system.
Hotain couldn’t believe what he’d done when he later read the police report, Harrison said.
"I am truly embarrassed for what happened that day. I was so high on drugs and alcohol, I wasn’t myself," Hotain wrote in an apology letter read in court by Harrison.
Hotain, who is from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, has a troubled past and already had nine violent offences on his record at the time he was sentenced for the standoff.
He’s a former member of the Manitoba Warriors street gang, Spartans motorcycle gang and the Native Syndicate street gang.
Most recently, Hotain was a high-ranking member of the NS but said he chose to be "beaten out" due to an internal dispute.
By 2009, Manitoba Justice had noted that Hotain was no longer a member of the NS and Hotain himself says he hasn’t had any gang ties for the past two to three years.
A probation officer said Hotain’s claim that he’s left gang life is supported by other sources and he wasn’t housed in a specific gang unit at the Brandon jail which supports his claim.
Hotain is an admitted recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Harrison said his client has made great strides since his arrest for the standoff.
Harrison told court that Hotain started an Alcoholics Anonymous group in his subunit at the Brandon jail and has made plans for further treatment. Hotain has also sought mental health counselling and consulted a pastor and aboriginal elders.
Sentencing judge, John Combs, said he believes Hotain is sincere in his effort to turn his life around but noted that staying free of alcohol and drugs is easier said than done.
"It’s much easier to have that commitment when you’re sitting in a jail cell than it is when you’re out on the street," Combs said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 22, 2013