Congress of Aboriginal Peoples calls for release of 2 women after man confesses to murder
REGINA -- The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is calling for the immediate release of two women who have been in prison for murder for almost three decades.
Sisters Odelia and Nerissa Quewezance have been imprisoned for nearly 28 years for the 1993 murder of Kamsack-area farmer Anthony Joseph Dolff at a farmhouse on the border of the Keeseekoose First Nation.
CAP is now making the request after the Jason Keshane, a man who was with them the day of the crime, admitted to being responsible for the killing.
“I stabbed him and beat him up,” Jason Keshane told the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network
Keshane received a four-year sentence for second-degree murder, but the two women were handed life sentences. CAP is now calling for their immediate release pending a retrial.
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin said the organization is asking the federal government to look into the case and release the two sisters “in the spirit of reconciliation.”
Senator Kim Pate said the majority of women receiving life sentences now are Indigenous.
“Someone else has confessed, why there hasn't been a review of the case is beyond me,” Pate said.
Pate wants to see a broad review into Indigenous women serving life sentences.
“The same issues that give rise to women being disappeared and murdered are the same issues that give rise to Indigenous women being the fastest growing prison population in this country,” Pate said.
Beaudin said the case would not have received a guilty verdict by today’s standards.
“What the system took away from me is my spirit. And to be free,” Odelia Quewezance said. “I pray my sister Nerissa doesn't give up. And my children don't give up on me.”
Nerissa Quewezance is currently wanted after she walked away from parole.
“Every day is a struggle in jail. To know that, you know what yeah, I'll try to be tough and not say anything, or try and show that you’re weak in jail. 27 years is a hard time,” Nerissa Quewezance said.
“The individuals who have exhausted their rights of appeal can apply to have their convictions reviewed. For privacy reasons, we cannot comment on particular applications,” the Department of Justice Canada said in a statement to CTV.
The statement added that the Minister of Justice ultimately decides whether a review application should be dismissed or allowed.
The provincial government said it is aware of the concerns raised in this case and is working to gather more information.