Judge to deliver verdict in murder trial of Saskatchewan Mountie who shot lover

By Kelly Geraldine Malone in Prince Albert

A Saskatchewan judge is set to deliver his verdict today for a Mountie on trial for murder in the shooting death of his lover.  

Bernie Herman, who is 55, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Braden Herman. 

The two men are not related.

Braden Herman’s naked body was found in 2021 in a park on the outskirts of Prince Albert, Sask.

Lawyers don’t dispute that Bernie Herman fired the gun that killed the younger man.

Crown prosecutors argue the Mountie deliberately lured his lover to the isolated area to kill him, but the defence lawyer says the shooting was in self-defence.

The trial in December heard the two men met on Facebook in about 2018. Not long after, Braden Herman moved into the veteran officer’s family home. 

The relationship became sexual and caused strain on the Mountie’s marriage. The officer’s wife kicked Braden Herman out of the home in 2019, but the sexual relationship between the men continued.

Bernie Herman told the trial that the sex wasn’t always consensual. The officer said he was afraid because the young man would get violent. 

Prosecutors said Bernie Herman’s testimony isn’t credible, as the officer continued to sleep with and seek out the younger man. 

Messages shown in court show there was love between the two men, but there was also frustration.

A video recorded by the officer of a call he made to Braden Herman on the day of the killing was played in the trial. The video shows Braden Herman asking Bernie Herman to say that he loves him, while the officer talks about sexual positions and calls Braden Herman a parasite.

Later that day, wearing his uniform, duty belt and RCMP-issued weapon, Bernie Herman picked up the younger man and they drove to the park.

The Mountie testified Braden Herman grabbed him by the face. Bernie Herman said the younger man, who was naked, walked to the back of the passenger side of the truck and bent down to grab an object. 

The Mountie testified he doesn’t remember what happened next, but his gun went off.

Defence lawyers said the officer was afraid and acted in self-defence. The Mountie’s lawyers said the shooting was unplanned and haphazard. 

A killing must be planned and deliberate for a first-degree murder conviction. It comes with an automatic life sentence without parole for 25 years.

Prosecutors said the Mountie deliberately brought home his service weapon and lured Braden Herman to the isolated area with the promise of sex. The officer also confessed to his wife, prosecutors said, which shows intent to kill. 

Bernie Herman sent a text to Janice Herman soon after the killing, saying he’d had enough and shot Braden Herman.

The message said: “Just so you know your life has changed from here on. I just shot and killed him.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2024.

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