The Bukowski Agency - Starlight Tour - Excerpt
Starlight Tour
The last, lonely night of Neil Stonechild

by Susanne Reber and Rob Renaud


WHEN ABORIGINAL LAWYER Donald Worme returned to Saskatoon on Friday evening, he parked in the gravel parking lot behind the firm and entered through the back door to pick up his messages. One of them was from Jason Roy, his nephew. The message was fairly detailed.

"Jason called about his friend Neil Stonechild. He and Neil had escaped from custody and were on the run. The police caught up with them. Jason gave a phony name and was released. The cops got Neil and severely beat him and put him in the back of the police car. His face was gashed very deeply and he was covered in blood. Jason knew the cops had caused the injury on his face because seconds before Neil was fine. Jason couldn't help and had to walk away from it. He thought Neil would be taken back into custody, however six days later Neil's body was found. The cause of death was determined by autopsy to be hypothermia. Jason remembers that night was one of the coldest nights of the year. Later on Jason tried to get someone to listen to his story, but it fell on deaf ears and was brushed under the rug."

Worme scanned to the bottom of the note to read that Jason was trying to reach Neil's family in Manitoba. Ten years later, he knew, they would be still trying to get answers about Neil's death.

Worme already had three native families who wanted answers to terrible questions. He had Darrell Night asking him on a daily basis why Dan Hatchen and Ken Munson had tried to kill him. He was also representing the family of Lloyd Joseph Dustyhorn. Dustyhorn had been released by Saskatoon police in the early morning hours of January 19 of that year. A police officer drove him home and left him on his doorstep. Dressed only in a shirt, jeans, socks and boots, he had never made it inside the door, freezing to death on the stoop. And Mary Wegner wanted to know how her son could end up freezing to death at the Queen Elisabeth power station. Worme knew there were also questions from the family of Rodney Naistus, who wanted to know why their son was found frozen to death, naked from the waist up, on January 29.

Now this. The parallels were frightening, even to Worme, who thought he'd just about seen it all. He pressed his pen hard into the message paper, tracing the date in heavy black lines repeatedly, until it blared out from amongst the other words: Nov/90.

That date raised the ominous possibility that the Saskatoon cops had been taking natives on "Starlight Tours" for a very long time. Worme picked up the phone to call his nephew. The self-styled legal warrior had just stepped into the legal fight of his life.



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