Guilty verdict "best outcome in this terrible situation": Louie's family
Roxanne Louie's uncle says a guilty verdict against her killer is a part of moving towards justice.
In a statement, from the Okanagan Nation Alliance released yesterday, Dan Wilson thanks the jury for their sacrifice and hard work after finding 67-year-old Grace Robotti guilty of second-degree murder on Thursday.
But Wilson also says it's important to highlight what he calls systemic discrimination, racism and oppression that continues to be placed on indigenous people in legal cases.
Robotti hit 26-year-old Louie- the mother of Robotti's great-grandson- 26 times with a crowbar in 2015 in Penticton after the two got into a verbal argument that turned physical. The blows killed Louie and her body was dumped in Naramata by Robotti's brother, who entered Grace Robotti's house during the fight. Louie was a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip echoed Wilson's statement, saying they recognize that a true sense of justice will never be served by a court.
“Though a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women was launched by the federal government these gestures must be met with meaningful action," he states "The Province of BC and the Federal Governments must take steps to end the systemic discrimination and racism that is at the root of epidemic of violence perpetrated on Indigenous women and girls in staggering numbers."
Another statement, released from Louie's family on Saturday, highlights the many murdered and still missing Indigenous woman locally. They reiterate the RCMP’s request for information from the public regarding the dissapearance of Caitlyn Potts, Ashley Simpson and Deanna Mildred Wertz, all of whom went missing in the Interior last year.
Robotti's co-accussed, her brother Pier Robotti, pled guilty to indignity to human remains last month. The crown dropped the second-degree murder charge against him in exchange for the plea. Details from his court proceedings were under a publication ban until Grace Robotti's trial was over. He faces a maximum of 5 years in prison.
The statement, from the Louie and Hall family, say they are extremely dissapointed with Pier Robotti's plea.
"These past two years have been extremely difficult; we feel our loss in so many ways. As family and friends to Roxanne we are still processing both convictions. However, we are relieved for the closure Grace Robotti’s verdict brings."
The family also says there is a deep-seated and widespread gendered racism that go unchecked in Canada, believing such attitudes emerged in testimony from the Robotti family during the trial.
"They were subtle remarks; however, they suggested that violence towards Roxanne was justifiable due to their perception of who she was, which was inextricably tied to her Indigenous heritage."
Roxanne Louie's family hopes everyone will see past her murder and remember her for her vibrant energy.
"She was always filled with light-hearted laughter and determination. She was also a beautiful woman, with a great big smile. She grew to be a very generous and responsible mom, who loved to go on many outings to the park or beach with her son."
Grace Robotti faces a mandatory sentence of 25 years, however the jury recommended she be eligible for parole after 10 years. She also faces a sentence for interference with a body after pleading guilty to that charge on the first day of her trial.
Both Robotti's are scheduled to be sentenced on April 18.