Calgary Sports News
The sister of Nadia El-Dib, murdered by an ex-boyfriend last month, says she will use her sister’s name, voice and story to raise awareness of domestic violence.
Racha El-Dib said her 22-year-old sister “went down fighting” in the early morning hours of March 25 when she was killed by Adam Bettahar, who was later shot dead by Mounties west of Edmonton.
“My sister Nadia made it clear that she would not give herself to him in any way, we know that because she fought until her last breath to get away from Abderrahmane ‘Adam’ Bettahar,” Racha said at a news conference Wednesday.
The two had been seeing each other in late 2017 but were not in a relationship at the time of the murder, the family said. Police had no prior involvement with the couple and the murder has been labelled a domestic homicide.
“She was a strong young woman who fought and refused a man, and that decision alone resulted in her death,” Racha said.
At the request of the El-Dib family, Calgary police released details about Nadia’s grisly murder.
After a night at a downtown shisha bar, police say Nadia left with Bettahar around 3 a.m. Refusing to return El-Dib to her vehicle, Bettahar took her behind a home in the 1000 block of Maitland Drive N.E. just after 4 a.m.
That’s when police say Bettahar stabbed Nadia approximately 40 times and cut her throat while the two were in Bettahar’s vehicle. Nadia was able to escape the vehicle, but police say Bettahar then shot her twice with a high-powered rifle.
Even though police say neighbours later reported hearing gunshots on the morning Nadia was killed, no one called police and her body wasn’t found until 9:30 a.m.
The night she was killed, police say Nadia called a friend expressing frustration that Bettahar wouldn’t bring her to her vehicle, which was parked near the shisha bar.
Video and forensic evidence collected during the investigation showed two muzzle flashes from shots that were fired, the second when El-Dib was on the ground.
Staff Sgt. Paul Wozney said Calgary police received more than 18,500 domestic conflict calls last year. He urged anyone suffering from domestic violence — or anyone who believes a family member is being abused — to contact police.
“There are people out in the community that want to help,” he said. “So if people feel alone, or they feel isolated, they feel like they’re on an island, there are networks and networks of agencies available to assist.
“It’s not just the victims, it’s also the family and the friends that we also want to ensure are part of that solution to these issues as well.”
Police say Bettahar legally purchased a semi-automatic rifle on March 10, just weeks before Nadia’s murder.
She was the second Calgarian killed in 2018.
A Canada-wide warrant was issued for Bettahar the day after the murder. He evaded police for days before being shot and killed by police on March 29, after opening fire on Mounties following a pursuit along Highway 16 west of Edmonton.
The confrontation left Sgt. Brian Topham with non-life-threatening injuries.
Earlier this week, Racha visited with Topham and “met the whole team” who faced a gun-wielding Bettahar in the shootout. Racha says she has formed a lifelong bond with the RCMP officers involved in the gun battle.
Racha said the El-Dib family is grateful for the support from police and Calgarians, adding she will continue to be an advocate against domestic violence and hopes Nadia’s story will inspire others to ask for help when “pursuit from a man, or even a woman,” turns abusive or dangerous.
Help is only a phone call away if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence:
- Connect Family & Sexual Abuse Network: 1-877-237-5888.
- The 24-hour Family Violence Helpline: 403-234-SAFE (7233)
- If you are in danger or suspect someone else could be harmed, call 9-1-1 immediately.
- Additional resources can be found by calling 2-1-1.
On Twitter: @RCRumbolt
On Twitter: @zjlaing
Tomas Hertl scored the tiebreaking goal 9:09 into the third period, Martin Jones was spectacular in goal yet again, and the San Jose Sharks completed a first-round sweep of the rival Anaheim Ducks with a 2-1 victory in Game 4 on Wednesday night.
Filip Forsberg scored another creative goal, Pekka Rinne rebounded from a rocky performance with 31 saves, and the Nashville Predators withstood a furious rally by the Colorado Avalanche for a 3-2 win in Game 4 on Wednesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
A feisty Nikita Kucherov scored two goals, set up another and knocked New Jersey's top defenceman out of the game with a big hit, and the Tampa Bay Lightning moved within a game of making the Devils' first trip to the playoffs in six years a short one with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday night.
LeBron James scored 46 points and added 12 rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers bounced back from a poor performance in the opener by holding off the Indiana Pacers 100-97 on Wednesday night to even their Eastern Conference series at one game apiece.
Sidney Crosby scored his fifth goal of the series and became the Pittsburgh Penguins' career post-season points leader in a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
Three children have been rushed to hospital after a collision that left a female driver dead.
Around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, members of the Taber RCMP and emergency services were called to the intersection of Highway 513 and Range Road 140, about 300 kilometres southeast of Calgary.
Const. Kathleen Fossen with the RCMP said one woman was killed in the single-vehicle rollover. Two children in the vehicle were transported by ground ambulance to a local hospital, while a third was taken by STARS air ambulance, with the assistance of HALO Rescue, to a hospital in Calgary.
On Wednesday night, Highway 513 was closed in both directions between Range Road 135 and Range Road 140 as police investigated the cause of the crash.
In a news release, Fossen said “all possible factors are being considered,” adding roads “were bare and dry at the time of the collision.”
Fossen said the family of the victims has been notified but no additional information is currently available.
On Twitter: @RCRumbolt
The wife of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has died. The Spurs confirmed Erin Popovich's death Wednesday. The team didn't provide further details.
The shoulder is fine, but don’t expect Bo Levi Mitchell to get back on Twitter anytime soon.
Speaking with the media for the first time in months on a conference call organized by the CFL, the Calgary Stampeders quarterback detailed an off-season in which he stepped away from the public eye and worked on strengthening the shoulder he injured last season.
The good news was that Mitchell’s shoulder didn’t require surgery. Instead, he’s been working on strengthening the smaller muscles in the shoulder and has spent time with athletic therapist Jeff Peach – a former baseball player – to improve the throwing mechanics.
“I’m still going to throw the exact same,” Mitchell said. “It was about spending the proper amount of time during the off-season strengthening my shoulder and all the small muscles in my shoulder and not spending so much time on your bigger muscles like your abs, your biceps.
“It’s really just diving in and committing myself to the health of my shoulder and making sure it was strong.”
While the work Mitchell’s done this off-season won’t prevent him from getting hurt if he takes a hit to the arm while he’s in the middle of his throwing motion – which is what happened last season – he does believe it will make him a strong, better quarterback.
That’s obviously good news for the Stampeders.
While the extent of Mitchell’s “off-year” last season was greatly exaggerated, he did fall slightly off the pace that landed him the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award in 2016. If he can get back to that world-beating level in 2018, the Stamps should find themselves competing for a spot in their third-straight Grey Cup.
Just don’t expect to hear Mitchell talk about it on Twitter.
The Stamps QB quit the social media platform suddenly earlier this off-season, and he’s got no intention of returning.
“No, I do not,” Mitchell said when asked if he was thinking about logging into Twitter again. “Honestly, I just wanted to rein in the focus and make sure I was giving myself and my team everything I had. I’m already doing a radio show, so anything I need to talk about or say can be put out there.
“With the negativity and what-not trending (on) social media these days, I thought it would be a good time to get off.”OPEN COMPETITION
Ever since Jerome Messam signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, it’s been widely believed that the Stampeders running back position would be filled with some combination of Terry Williams, Dominique Williams and Roy Finch.
That doesn’t appear to be the case.
Finch’s future is up in the air after he was arrested on Sunday in Oklahoma for allegedly possessing marijuana, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.
Then, on Wednesday, the Stamps revealed that Dominique Williams won’t be around this season either.
“Right now, no, Dom decided not to accept our contract offer and we have (had) no further communication,” Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson said. “(The battle for the starting running back job) should be an exciting one to see what we bring in, it’s wide open. Terry does some good things, but we’ll have some great competition in Florida (for mini-camp).”NOT THE SAME AT SAM
With Shaquille Richardson signing a deal with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders this off-season and Joe Burnett moving east to play with the Montreal Alouettes, the Stampeders are looking to plug the hole at the SAM position for the 2018 season.
Obviously, the Stamps aren’t handing out starting positions before training camp and will be taking a good, long look at their options over the next two months, but Dickenson did reveal a couple players he thought might be able to slot in.
“We’ve got a couple things in mind, (Tunde Adeleke) player there, we’ll take a look at that,” Dickenson said. “Jamar Wall, we’re going to take a peak at. We’re going to make sure we’re versatile. We’re not exactly sure what we’re going to bring in from our U.S. camps.”
It’s been widely expected that Adeleke would take over the starting safety position in the Stamps’ defensive backs group after Josh Bell retired from playing to take over as the team’s new DB coach.
The Stamps brought Adam Berger back into the fold after he spent one year away from Calgary with the Ottawa RedBlacks, which means the Stamps have a Canadian backup at safety.
According to Dickenson, though, the decision on whether to go with a Canadian at safety still hasn’t been made.UP TO HIM
After moving to the offensive line last season, Quinn Smith didn’t see a tonne of game action.
If that’s going to change in 2018, Smith’s going to have to earn his playing time.
“We hope, Quinn certainly just hasn’t been able to show us what he can do and some of the reasons are his fault,” Dickenson said. “I’m looking for a guy that’s maturing and is going to take the bull by the horns and want to be a starter.
“It’s a big year for Quinn.”
The conduct of the judge who let purported gang leader Nick Chan walk free from a murder charge Tuesday “created a reasonable apprehension of bias,” the Crown says in its appeal of his ruling.
In their notice of appeal filed just a day after Justice Paul Jeffrey stayed charges against Chan, the prosecution said a new trial should be ordered.
“The learned trial judge erred in law by finding a violation of s. 11 (b) of the Charter,” the document said, citing the section of the Charter dealing with the right to be tried within a reasonable time.
“The learned trial Judge’s conduct created a reasonable apprehension of bias,” it added.
Jeffrey ruled the Crown hadn’t brought Chan to trial in a timely manner moments before a jury was supposed to begin hearing evidence in the case.
As it turns out, jurors weren’t going to hear any testimony in the case, as lead Crown prosecutor Steven Johnston said he would not be calling evidence in light of an earlier ruling by Jeffrey.
Chan was released from custody a short time later.
Last week, the Court of Queen’s Bench judge ruled the prosecution’s star witness wouldn’t be allowed to take the witness stand in the case.
The reasons for Jeffrey’s rulings are subject to a publication ban pending the appeal of the case.
Jeffrey said the star witness, whose identity is also protected by a publication ban, couldn’t give evidence.
That witness, a former gang member, testified against Chan in an earlier murder trial in which he was acquitted.
A jury in 2016 found Chan not guilty of the first-degree murder of rival gang member Sanjeev Mann.
Mann and gang associate Aaron Bendle were gunned down inside the Bolsa restaurant off Macleod Tr. on Jan. 1, 2009.
Restaurant patron Keni Su’a was killed outside trying to flee the carnage.
Chan was to stand trial beginning this week for the Aug. 9, 2008, shooting death of non-gang member Kevin Anaya and of plotting to kill rival gangster Kevin Bontagon, who was the actual target the day Anaya was slain.
He was also charged with directing a criminal organization.
Following Jeffrey’s oral ruling Johnston said the prosecution would have to wait to see his written decisions, which haven’t been released yet, to determine whether to appeal.
The appeal was filed by prosecutor Joanne Dartana of the appeals branch out of Edmonton.
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts
A computer forensic expert found thousands of images and movies he considered to be child pornography on equipment seized from the home of former Alberta Party leadership candidate Troy Millington.
Ossi Haataja, an expert with the Southern Alberta Integrated Child Exploitation unit, said Wednesday he examined the computer equipment following a Feb. 16, 2016, police raid on Millington’s northwest Calgary home.
Haataja told Crown prosecutor Jenny Rees he found images in three separate identified categories of child pornography.
He said Category 1 involved images focused on the subjects’ genitals, which could involve sexual acts. Category 2 involved full or partial nudity but didn’t focus on the privates of the subjects, and Category 3 involved clothed or mostly clothed children posed in provocative manners.
“I found a total of 5,264 images. Of those, 2,257 were unique that I categorized as Category 1,” Haataja told a six-man, six-woman Court of Queen’s Bench jury.
He also found 1,730 images in Category 2 and 1,004 in Category 3.
On the computers and hard drives he examined, Haataja also found movies he considered to be child pornography.
There were 1,856 Category 1 movies, 145 Category 2 and 96 Category 3, he said.
Millington faces charges of making available child pornography to others and possessing and accessing the illicit materials.
Haataja said 135 of the individuals in the images and movies were children identified by Interpol.
On one of the hard drives, he uncovered movies and images depicting mostly pre-teen girls between age four and 12, he said.
“The images included toddlers, bondage, bestiality,” the retired member of the Calgary Police Service said.
He defined toddlers as being between one and three years old.
One image he found was of an eight-year-old girl bound in a car he called a “mock abduction” in his report.
“It may have been a real abduction,” he added.
Haataja found files that contained terms commonly used to search for child pornography on the internet.
“I’ve never seen any of those terms in relation to anything else (other than child porn),” he said.
The veteran computer expert said he’s had to view “a lot” of child pornography over the course of his career investigating such cases.
“I know I’ve looked at millions of pictures, tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of movies,” he said.
Millington’s trial continues Thursday.
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts
Sometimes it takes a little more than just facial hair to help your team win.
Teoscar Hernandez had four hits, including a two-run home run, Curtis Granderson hit his ninth career grand slam and the Toronto Blue Jays routed Kansas City 15-5 on Wednesday in the Facebook-exclusive game to complete the series sweep of the Royals, losers of eight straight.
Roy Finch was released from custody on Monday afternoon after posting a US$6,000 bond for allegedly assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and possessing marijuana.
According to a police report, the Calgary Stampeders kick returner was arrested in Edmond, Okla., early Sunday morning after police were called to an apartment complex because a car had been parked and running for over an hour.
The report alleges that the car smelled like marijuana and that when officers attempted to place Finch in handcuffs he “swung at” one of the officers and ran away.
The police report confirmed that officers “deployed a Taser, hitting Finch between the shoulder blades” and his mugshot showed bruising and several cuts on his face.
“Medical was called to check Finch out,” the police report stated.”
There was no dashcam footage from the initial incident released, and a spokesperson for the Edmond Police Departmentsaid that was because the cameras are turned on by sirens or flashing lights and neither were being used when police approached the vehicle.
The department will be releasing a more detailed police report, but it has not been made public as it is being reviewed because an officer was allegedly injured.
A spokesperson from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office told Postmedia Wednesday Finch had been charged with three misdemeanour counts of marijuana possession, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.
He was released after posting a US$6,000 bond at around 2:30 p.m. local time on Monday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said.
Finch’s next court date has not been set, according to the spokesperson.
The body overseeing city police was reluctant to challenge the force in how it dealt with two officers whose credibility in court was slammed by a judge, an inquiry into the matter was told Wednesday.
And in making those criticisms, the Calgary police commission’s former complaints director, Shirley Heafey, said she was verbally abused amid a “toxic” environment by at least one commission member, adding she lodged a complaint with the organization that’s gone nowhere.
“I was screamed at during a meeting … this was abusive, it was humiliating,” said Heafey, who was with the commission until late 2015.
“I filed a complaint but the whole thing was quashed.”
Heafey was testifying during a Law Enforcement Review Board inquiry into whether there was proper oversight into the case of Const. Brant Derrick and Sgt. Les Kaminski, who were charged with perjury and assault following their testimony in the 2010 trial of Hells Angels member Jason Arkinstall.
In his ruling while acquitting Arkinstall, Provincial Court Judge Terry Semenuk said the officers’ testimony wasn’t credible as it contradicted what appeared in a video of Arkinstall’s 2008 arrest in downtown Calgary.
And he also said the handcuffed Arkinstall “was struck by a baton and otherwise physically abused” by Derrick and Kaminski, the latter man now the president of the Calgary Police Association.
On Wednesday, Heafey told the inquiry she was stymied by the commission in the years after Semenuk’s comments by being removed from crucial parts of meetings of the CPC’s complaints oversight committee.
“I was excluded from my own meetings … I was prevented from doing what I was supposed to do,” she said.
Defence lawyer Tom Engel asked Heafey if the commission didn’t perform its oversight job in the Arkinstall case after the CPS had decided not to launch a criminal investigation of the two officers and instead opted for an administrative review and counselling.
“They weren’t willing to challenge the CPS?” asked Engel.
Heafey again agreed, saying: “A lot … there was a lot of ‘let it go.'”
She also agreed with Engel that the commission was willing to go along with what the chief of police said.
Heafey said she was told not to take such cases up with then-police chief Rick Hanson, that the responsibility was assumed by the commission’s then-executive director Ellen Wright.
In a testy exchange with Ola Malik, a lawyer acting for the commission, Heafey admitted she wasn’t certain what the it had done in dealing with the Arkinstall case.
And he angrily insisted it was Heafey who had failed in her duties to communicate with Hanson and ensure complaints against police were properly handled.
“You make decisions on how your statutory obligations are exercised — nobody does that job but you,” said Malik, suggesting Heafey saw herself as a crusader.
“You thought you were the sole champion of people like Mr. Arkinstall.”
Heafey said she never read the transcript of the Arkinstall case and didn’t speak to Hanson or her counterparts with the CPS’s professional standards section about the issue.
And she said she was only made aware of Semenuk’s comments 13 months after they were made and wasn’t told by CPS.
The commission’s new director, Heather Spicer, said she wasn’t with the CPC during the time examined by the inquiry, from 2011 to 2014, and was reluctant to comment on Heafey’s allegations.
“I can’t respond to harassment or human resources issues,” she said.
“The commission completely respects and is responsive to the process and the Law Enforcement Review Board.”
After a formal complaint from Arkinstall, ASIRT began an investigation in February 2017.
Kaminski and Derrick were either acquitted or had their charges dropped.
Earlier in the inquiry, Engel said his Criminal Trial Lawyers Association “strongly believes there are systemic issues … I would allege there are efforts to frustrate the oversight in the matter of Mr. Arkinstall.”
While the inquiry can’t set blame, it can make recommendations to Alberta’s justice minister.
The inquiry resumes Thursday.
on Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn
Alberta Health Services is investigating and a family is questioning how a man arrested by RCMP and taken to hospital managed to slip out of the facility hours before being accused of killing a Stettler senior.
John Roland Savage, 51, is charged with second-degree murder in the April 6 death of 70-year-old James Hulkovich.
RCMP say Savage, also of Stettler, was initially arrested and transferred to the Stettler Hospital, where he was placed under the watch of hospital security.
An RCMP spokesman said Savage was not under police care while at the hospital but would not disclose why he was hospitalized or arrested.
“There is some questions and unfortunately we haven’t had answers from RCMP,” said Tim Hulkovich, the victim’s brother.
“If he had been in the hospital, how did he get out? We are understanding that if he was taken into the Stettler Hospital, they are not really set up to handle this type of person.”
The victim’s nephew, Chris Schrauwen, said he was told Hulkovich was fatally shot during a break and enter. Hulkovich’s truck was stolen, then found the following day during a traffic stop near Wetaskiwin.
One of the truck’s four occupants, Savage, was arrested and transported to an Edmonton hospital where he received medical assistance.
RCMP would not say why Savage was hospitalized the second time.
He was arrested April 10 and charged with Hulkovich’s death.
Schrauwen said his uncle was an outdoorsman who devoted his final years to caring for his wife, Carol, who had been dealing with multiple sclerosis.
“He had been looking after her ever since she was bedridden in the hospital. He devoted his life to being there every day,” said Schrauwen.
“Once a year, I’d get him out to Sundre for a day of fishing, but he always wanted to get back to her and see how she’s doing.”
A GoFundMe campaign, the Jim Hulkovich Memorial Fund, has been created to help Heritage House, the assisted living facility where Hulkovich spent time with his wife.
Savage is due back in a Stettler courtroom on April 26.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
‘An alarming lack of responsibility’: Senior sentenced for brutal attack on Calgary woman in her home
Calgarian Nurdin Allaudin Dossa was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison for an unprovoked and unexplained attack on a city woman in her home.
Provincial court Judge Bruce Fraser said there were no mitigating circumstances to lessen Dossa’s punishment, apart from his guilty plea.
“His criminal actions here have been life-altering and it is a miracle that she survived,” Fraser said.
The judge noted Dossa has shown no remorse for his actions and has not provided any reason for the attack.
“He has shown an alarming lack of responsibility for what he did,” Fraser said.
In victim-impact statements introduced last week during Dossa’s sentencing hearing, Fraser heard how life is only bearable for Anila Malik when she sleeps.
“When I sleep at night, I dream that I am a normal person, seeking nothing more than happiness and simplicity in life,” Malik wrote in her statement, read in court by Crown prosecutor Marta Juzwiak.
“Then I get up from my dream and what stares back at me (is) the pain of my hands and the scars on my neck and face,” she said.
The statement was read in as part of the sentencing hearing for Dossa, a friend of the victim’s ex-husband, who inexplicably attacked Malik in her northeast Calgary home on Nov. 17, 2016.
Dossa, 69, pleaded guilty last November to aggravated assault in connection with the unprovoked attack, which left Malik with scars to her face and neck after he pinned her to the floor and repeatedly stabbed her. The assault also left her with extremely limited use of both her hands.
Before the attack, Malik said she had carved out a comfortable life in her adopted country.
“Today, I am forced to turn to the government for financial assistance, something I have never done before,” Malik wrote.
Her daughter, credited with helping save her mother’s life, also provided a statement. The 12-year-old, who can’t be identified under a court order, said the attack has made her withdraw from society.
“After this tragic incident . . . I was isolated in my own bubble,” she wrote.
She said the aftermath of the attacks, while her mother recovered in the hospital, was heartbreaking: “I couldn’t even hug my very own mother. It would make her feel pain.”
Juzwiak suggested a sentence of seven to 10 years would be justified for the attack, while defence counsel David Chow argued for a four-to-seven-year term. With credit for remand time, Dossa will have another five years and 10 1/2 months to serve.
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts
RCMP say they have charged an Airdrie officer with allegedly assaulting a prisoner.
RCMP Const. Dwayne Kirby was arrested and charged on April 12 in relation to an alleged assault on Aug. 19, 2017.
Kirby has been suspended from duty since August 2017 as a result of an internal code of conduct process.
“It’s a serious allegation. It’s important for us to assure the public that public trust is essential for us,” said Cpl. Laurel Scott.
“There remains an expectation from the RCMP that our employees conduct themselves in a manner that meets expectations of Canadians.”
RCMP say that his duty status will be reviewed regularly until the matter is completed.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
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