Preliminary Trial Commences for Man Charged in Megan Gallagher Murder Case

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As dawn broke on Monday, the air in the Saskatoon provincial court was rife with tension as Robert “Bobby” Thomas began his preliminary trial, charged with the first-degree murder of Megan Gallagher. Thomas, donning an orange sweatshirt, remained silent throughout the proceedings, occasionally acknowledging his attorney with a nod. Thomas was apprehended in Prince George, B.C., on September 20, 2020, in connection with Gallagher’s demise.

Details of the preliminary trial have been placed under a publication ban. The grisly case sprouted roots when Gallagher disappeared on September 19, 2020. The following January, law enforcement escalated the missing person case to a homicide investigation. Gallagher’s mortal remains were discovered near St. Louis, about 100 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, lining the banks of the South Saskatchewan River on September 29, 2022.

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Tuesday marks the three-year anniversary of Gallagher’s disappearance, a day her family has endured with immense strength, buoyed by an outpouring of support. Brian Gallagher, Megan’s father, expressed his gratitude, stating, “Your support was immeasurable”. Taking solace in the warmth extended by the community during these testing times, Brian vows to use it as fuel in their quest for justice.

Sunday witnessed a wave of solidarity as dozens marched from Joe Gallagher Field in Saskatoon to River Landing, raising their voices against violence towards Indigenous women and girls. The march had initially been a clarion call for providing information about Gallagher’s whereabouts. As the court process progresses, Brian describes the experience as one of “tired numbness”.

Nine individuals were indicted in relation to Gallagher’s tragedy, with charges ranging from murder to unlawful confinement and offering an indignity to human remains. With their count of courthouse trips blurring, Brian and his wife Deb described the first-degree murder preliminary trial on Monday as a “surreal and new experience”.

Earlier, court documents had described how Gallagher was forcibly brought to a garage on the 700 block of Weldon Avenue in Saskatoon in 2020. The details were chilling: Gallagher, bound to a chair and shrouded in plastic wrap, endured a painful death. Her body was then hidden in the garage for two days before two individuals, Ernest Whitehead and John Sanderson, concealed it further under a tarp and loaded it into a truck. The duo drove to a bridge near One Arrow First Nation to discard it.

Their plot was foiled by an approaching vehicle, forcing them to abandon their location and continue onto the St. Louis Bridge, where Gallagher’s remains were ultimately discarded into the river.

So far, Ernest Whitehead, John Sanderson, and Jessica Badger have been sentenced for their part in Gallagher’s horrifying death. The trial continues, bringing with it the promise of justice for the Gallagher family who are bravely grappling with their loss, one day, one second, one moment at a time.