Tyler Cayen sentenced to 2 years for his part in killing of Hay River man

Alexander Norwegian is a cousin to Tyler Cayen, one of the men responsible for his death, NWT Supreme Court heard on Thursday.

32-year-old pleaded guilty of accessory to manslaughter in December 2017 death

Alex Norwegian was remembered at a 2018 memorial by family, friends and his first love at a celebration of life in his honour. (Randi Beers/CBC)

Tyler Cayen has been handed a two-year jail sentence for his part in the death of Alexander Norwegian after an emotional sentencing hearing Thursday in N.W.T. Supreme Court.

With credit for time served, the 32-year-old faces 10 months in jail. Tyler pleaded guilty to accessory to manslaughter after the fact in relation to Alexander's death just over a year ago.

Court heard Alexander is a cousin to Tyler, who is also related to the others accused in relation to his death.

Crack deal and robbery

Four people have been charged — Levi Cayen, Tyler Cayen, James Thomas and Sasha Cayen. Two have pleaded guilty: Tyler and Sasha.

All four of the accused are cousins. According to the agreed statement of facts, the group was socializing on the night of Dec. 26 at James' house. At some point during the evening, Sasha texted Alexander to buy crack cocaine. 

Thomas and Sasha drove out to meet him and make the purchase. 

Later, Levi and James decided to rob Alexander. Sasha texted him again to arrange another crack buy. Levi and James went out on a snowmobile armed with a small bat. They were gone for about an hour, and when they came back they told Tyler they had beaten Alexander but he was alive when they left him.

They burned Alexander's jacket in a woodstove at James' house. 

Tyler then watched Levi leave again on snowmobile, with the understanding Levi was calling the RCMP to report Alexander's location.

RCMP records show that on Dec. 27, a call was received at 4:05 a.m. from a pay phone outside the Rooster convenience store. The caller reported an impaired driver driving a smashed up car on Sandy Creek Road. The man did not identify himself and gave no further description of the car.

No police officer was dispatched.

Alexander's body wasn't discovered until more than a day later, at 9:45 a.m. on Dec. 28, when a snow-plow driver saw the car on the side of the road. Alexander's frozen body was slumped over the steering wheel of his car, his face covered in blood.

The temperature those days ranged between –23 to –25 C with a wind chill of –29 to –33 C.

'You were family'

In his victim impact statement, Alexander's father, Roy Norwegian, said he'd just met Tyler for the first time a few days before his son died.

"You were family," he said, reminding him Alexander might be still alive today had he contacted Roy that night and given him a chance to save him.

Roy was one of 11 people to submit victim impact statements.

Alexander's mother, Wanda Steen, told Tyler she will never be able to forgive him.

"I can't imagine what my son went through at the hands of you monsters," she said.

Sasha Cayen, who has also pleaded guilty to manslaughter, is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow.

James Thomas and Levi Cayen face first-degree murder charges.


  • A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Sasha Cayen also pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery.
    Jan 18, 2019 1:03 PM CT

With files from Richard Gleeson