Shouts of 'murderer' in courtroom after Gerald Stanley acquitted in Colten Boushie shooting

Several people in the courtroom yelled "Murderer!" seconds after a Saskatchewan jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of killing Colten Boushie early Friday evening.

Sask. farmer had been charged with 2nd-degree murder in the August 2016 shooting

Gerald Stanley, right, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie and underwent a two-week jury trial. He has been found not guilty. (Facebook/Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

Several people in the courtroom yelled "Murderer!" seconds after a Saskatchewan jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of killing Colten Boushie early Friday evening.

As a sheriff's deputy put his hand on his shoulder, Stanley recoiled for a moment before being hurriedly led out of the tense room.

Stanley, 56, was charged with second-degree murder in the August 2016 death of the 22-year-old.

The Battleford Court of Queen's Bench jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon and returned its verdict Friday evening.

Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, spoke at FSIN's North Battleford office at a hastily-called press conference two hours after the trial's conclusion.

Cameron expressed deep skepticism about Stanley's assertion that the gun he was holding accidentally went off, killing Boushie.

Gerald Stanley leaves the Court of Queen's Bench out a back door with members of the RCMP after a jury delivered a verdict of not guilty in the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

"In this day and age, when someone can get away with killing somebody, when someone can get away with saying, 'I accidentally walked to the storage shed, I accidentally grabbed a gun out of the storage box and I accidentally walked back to the car and then I accidentally raised my arm in level with the late Colten Boushie's head, then my finger accidentally pushed the trigger' – what a bunch of garbage," said Cameron before tightly-packed crowd. 

Trudeau 'can't imagine' family's grief

Cameron said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has promised to meet with the Boushie family in the near future.

The high-profile trial has drawn attention across Canada, and both Wilson-Raybould and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the verdict on social media on Friday night.

After the verdict was read out and people left the courtroom in shock, many members of the Boushie family went into a private room on the second floor of the courthouse. Loud sobbing and screams — including "Colten! Colten! Colten!" — could be heard through the door. 

"This is not right. Something has to be done about this!" said Alvin Baptiste, Boushie's uncle, after the verdict was read aloud.

Alvin Baptiste, Colten Boushie's uncle, says there is no justice for his nephew

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Duration 1:37
Alvin Baptiste reacts outside the Battleford Court of Queen's Bench after Gerald Stanley is found not guilty in the death of his nephew Colten Boushie

Outside the courthouse, Baptiste said to reporters the justice system has to change to serve First Nations people. 

"We will not give up our fight for justice," Boushie's cousin Jade Tootoosis said on the courthouse steps, adding that her family has felt uncomfortable and victimized throughout the process. 

'There was no justice served here': Colten Boushie's cousin Jade Tootoosis reacts to Gerald Stanley's not guilty verdict

5 years ago
Duration 1:12
Jade Tootoosis says her family will not stop its pursuit for justice

"I ask you to try and understand the nearly bottomless disappointment" of the family, said Chris Murphy, the Boushie family lawyer, referring to the apparent lack of any Indigenous people from the 12-person jury. (CBC News has no way to independently determine at this time whether any of the jurors have Indigenous backgrounds.)

'I ask you to try and understand [their] nearly bottomless disappointment,' said Boushie family lawyer Chris Murphy. (Jason Warick/CBC)

"There is a darkness that exists in this country," said Murphy. "I believe we are going to have feel our way out of it."

'We are all hurting'

Kimberly Jonathan, vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said the verdict is a continuation of the atrocities Indigenous people have faced in Canada, citing the residential school system and the Sixties Scoop. 

Jonathan also urged all First Nations people to be peaceful in the aftermath.

Kim Jonathan, vice -chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, reacts to the verdict outside the courthouse. (Jason Warick/CBC)

"The family called for calm. The family prayed for peace," she said. 

"We're are all hurting. We all face racism. Everyone sees it. I see it as a mother."

Scott Spencer, Stanley's attorney, was not available for comment.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Bill Burge did not rule out an appeal. He said they would evaluate their options. 

Crown prosecutor Bill Burge did not comment when asked if he was surprised by the verdict. (Jason Warick/CBC)

"There's never any winner in a case like this," he told reporters outside the courthouse. 

'We didn't leave anything out': Senior Crown Prosecutor Bill Burge says his team will examine its position in near future

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Duration 3:05
Senior Crown Prosecutor Bill Burge says his team presented all the evidence that implicated Gerald Stanley.

When asked if he was surprised by the verdict, Burge declined to reply. 

  • Revisit CBC's moment-by-moment tweets covering the delivery of the verdict and the intense reactions to it below. On mobile? Click here

Boushie and four other young people from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation reserve drove onto Stanley's rural property in an SUV on Aug. 9, 2016.

An altercation occurred between them, Stanley, his son and his wife.

Stanley testified during the trial and said he did not mean to shoot anyone. He said the handgun he was holding accidentally went off, shooting Boushie in the head. Expert witnesses testified the pistol was functioning normally and the handgun could only be fired by pulling the trigger.

Supporters of the Boushie family rally outside the courthouse after the verdict. (Jason Warick/CBC)

What the verdict options were

The jury could have found Stanley guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, or not guilty, according to Chief Justice Martel Popescul, who oversaw the trial.

"What this trial comes down to is whether Gerry acted reasonably," Stanley's lawyer, Scott Spencer, told the jury.

"It's a tragedy, but it's not criminal. You must acquit."​

Senior Crown prosecutor Bill Burge told the jury that Stanley lied about some of the events leading up to the shooting, including that the gun went off accidentally.

"[The trigger] was pulled intentionally. I'm suggesting that's murder," Burge said.

Jury selection took place on Jan. 29 in a Battleford community hall, followed by several days of testimony from eyewitnesses, family members, experts and Stanley himself.

Boushie, 22, was killed on Stanley's farm near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016. He was from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation north of Biggar. (Facebook)

With files from Charles Hamilton