For Stacey Thur, it was like Aug. 4 all over again. That day she learned her 20-year-old son Daniel Levesque died following an altercation in a Victoria apartment the night before.
Last Friday, a little more than four months later, she learned Joshua Bredo, the man charged with second degree murder in connection with Levesque’s death, was being released from custody after the charges against him were stayed due to lack of evidence.
“It saddens me but there’s nothing I can do,” Thur told the Times Review. “It’s completely beyond my control.”
Thur was told the news by two detectives from the Victoria police department, who travelled to Revelstoke to speak to her in person. Thur was ready for the long process of a murder trial. The investigators had warned her that it would take a long time. Still, she wasn’t prepared for the news she received.
“In my heart I most certainly do not believe it is over, in good ways and in bad,” she said.
Victoria police said Bredo could yet be charged again for the crime.
“Investigators are continuing the investigation, but (right now) they don’t have enough evidence to keep him in custody,” said spokesperson Const. Mike Russell.
Although he hasn’t been convicted for fraud, Joshua Bredo has been at the centre of several alleged frauds that have left many victims in their wake.
The news of Bredo’s release also came as a shock to Ron McCully, a man who said he was scammed by Bredo in 2007.
“I can’t believe this,” McCully said from his home in Prince George.
McCully was mourning the loss of his son Matthew, who died in Afghanistan, when he first met Bredo (who was then using the alias Josh Baba). Bredo offered to help set up the Matthew McCully Foundation in Matthew’s honour.
McCully said Bredo buoyed his spirits when he was depressed. “He was genuine, caring, everything. Just amazing,” McCully said. “He energized me.”
Bredo offered to kick start the foundation with $10,000 of his own money and host a $100 per plate dinner.
However, McCully was warned by a former mayor of Prince George to be wary of Bredo. A senior RCMP officer told him: “Don’t walk away from Josh Bredo, run.”
The gala never happened and McCully was left with several thousand dollars in outstanding bills. McCully said he did not pursue charges against Bredo due to the embarrassment his family faced. He felt they didn’t want to further dishonour their son.
“He’s just a nasty individual,” said McCully.
In August of 2008, Bredo surfaced in Calgary and pledged $10,000 of his own money to launch an anti-crime initiative called Stand Up Calgary. It was similar to an initiative he attempted to launch in Prince George the year before. Bredo courted media attention for the stunt, even appearing on a TV news piece.
In 2009, Bredo was briefly the campaign manager for Calgary mayoral candidate George Dadamo but was fired when Dadamo learned of his history. He was also briefly listed as the communications director for the then fledgling Wild Rose Alliance Party in Alberta. A year later, under the name Joshua Chartier, he offered to help Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks secure the Conservative party riding nomination. He soon split after learning Wilks was a former RCMP officer. Bredo left Wilks with the bill for some work he had arranged.
He also claimed to be putting on two events for the City of Cranbrook, which led the city to send out warnings to residents notifying them of a scam.
“I know he came off as someone that potentially had the ability of making things happen but the fact of the matter is I don’t think he could make much happen,” Wilks told the Revelstoke Times Review in August.
Shortly after Levesque’s death, a member of Bredo’s family, speaking anonymously, told the Prince George Citizen that Bredo had been estranged from his family for years. The family member described him as a “psycho sociopath.”
News of Levesque’s death shocked the community of Revelstoke and close to 1,000 people attended a celebration of his life at the community centre. He was described as a talented musician and poet, loving son and a great friend who would make people laugh.
Stacey Thur said her son considered Bredo a friend. Bredo was Levesque’s boss at the 7/11 they worked at and they would also socialize together outside of work.
“Daniel felt he was very lucky to have met such a good friend so early on in his move to Victoria,” she said.
She said she saw the wounds on Levesque’s body and knows he was assaulted.
“There were only two people in that apartment and Daniel didn’t kill himself,” she said.
She remains hopeful there will be justice some day.
“I just know Daniel deserved better than all of this,” she said. “We will fight until the bitter end to find out what happened that night. I do not believe this is of Daniel’s doing.”
With files from the Victoria News and the Kootenay News Advertiser.