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Hay River woman sentenced to 3 years, 7 months for setting up fatal robbery

A Hay River woman has been sentenced to 3 years and 7 months for setting up a robbery that ended with the death of Alex Norwegian.

Sasha Cayen, 26, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for her role in Alex Norwegian's death

Sasha Cayen leaves the courthouse in Yellowknife in this file photo from 2019. (CBC)

A Hay River woman has been sentenced to 3 years and seven months for her role in setting up a robbery that ended with the death of Alex Norwegian.

The judge also sentenced the woman to 3 years of probation. 

Sasha Cayen, 26,  pled guilty to manslaughter for her role in Norwegian's death.

On Friday, prosecutor Jay Potter called for Cayen to serve four years in prison. Cayen's lawyer said she had no way of knowing that sending a text would lead to Norwegian's death, calling for a three year sentence.

According to facts Cayen agreed to in her plea, she was partying with three cousins in Hay River on Dec. 26, 2017. That's when two of the cousins decided to rob Norwegian, who was selling crack cocaine from a vehicle he parked on a remote road on the Hay River reserve.

Cayen and her cousins had been to the vehicle twice that evening: once to buy crack cocaine and once in response to a text from Norwegian asking for help getting his vehicle unstuck from a snowbank.

Cayen admitted to sending a text to Norwegian offering to buy more drugs. But this time her cousins, Levi Cayen and James Thomas, arrived on snowmobiles to rob him.

According to the agreed statement of facts, when the cousins returned, Cayen heard them say they had beaten Norwegian up. Norwegian was left unconscious in his badly damaged car in -23 C temperatures.

Alex Norwegian was remembered as a loving brother and a talented musician. (Randi Beers/CBC)

The cousins took Norwegian's jacket and other belongings and burned them in a wood stove. Levi Cayen called the police and told them there was an intoxicated driver on the road where they had left Norwegian.

Police did not respond, and Norwegian's body wasn't discovered until more than a day later. 

Levi Cayen and James Thomas are both facing charges of first degree murder and robbery for their alleged roles in the incident. Both have pled not guilty and have yet to go to trial.

With files from Richard Gleeson

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