Sheshegwaning FN man enters manslaughter plea in spouse’s 2019 death

Sentencing will be October 15

GORE BAY – It wasn’t meant to happen. What began as a good day for a family ended in tragedy, with a 30-year-old woman shot dead by her common-law spouse and father of her four children. On August 20, 2021 Frank Tomaselli of Sheshegwaning First Nation pleaded guilty to manslaughter using a firearm and to carelessly storing a firearm and ammunition.

Gore Bay virtual court heard that on August 25, 2019 at 4:33 am, Mr. Tomaselli called 911 to request assistance for Talia Carey, due to a gunshot wound, at their residence on Shigniconing Road. 

Earlier that day, Mr. Tomaselli, then 37 years old, and his common-law partner of 13 years, Talia Carey, had taken their four children swimming at the Sheshegwaning beach, something they always enjoyed. Mr. Tomaselli went to the woods to do some target shooting before returning home to relax with Ms. Carey. They drank coolers and socialized together. 

The four children, daughters between the ages of 11 and three years, were home that night. The eldest daughter had a friend over and the friends spent the evening playing video games. The girls did handstands in the living room and Ms. Carey tried to do one as well. It was a simple family night.

Mr. Tomaselli had visited his sister and her husband next door but returned home around 2 am, where he and Ms. Carey continued to listen to music, drink and socialize until Ms. Carey was fatally shot at approximately 4:30 am. 

Mr. Tomaselli, the eldest daughter and Mr. Tomaselli’s brother, who lived across the road, performed CPR on Ms. Carey until assistance arrived. Ambulance personnel, UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service, Manitoulin OPP and Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service officers attended the scene. OPP officers arrested Mr. Tomaselli without incident. 

Mr. Tomaselli was originally charged with second degree murder, contrary to section 235(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada and was held in the Sudbury District Jail until he was released on bail on March 20, 2020 subject to strict conditions. The investigation was conducted by members of UCCM Police and the Manitoulin OPP under the direction of Detective Inspector MaryLouise Kearns of the OPP’s Criminal Investigation Branch. 

Justice Jessica Wolfe entered findings of guilt on one count of manslaughter while using a firearm, contrary to section 236(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada and one count of storing a firearm and ammunition in a careless manner, without lawful excuse, contrary to section 86(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada. 

Mr. Tomaselli is a member of Sheshegwaning First Nation. Ms. Carey was a member of the Moose Cree First Nation but considered Sheshegwaning home. They resided together with their daughters at their home on Shigniconing Road. The community was shocked by what happened, an anonymous community member told The Expositor following the incident. “Talia was quiet, very family-oriented. Her kids were her life. She was kind, always smiling.” 

The daughters have lived with their maternal grandmother in Sudbury since the death of their mother. She has not opposed supervised access between Mr. Tomaselli and her granddaughters. 

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 15, 2021.