On the evening of November 21, 1916, Alex Krilozoski was hosting a wedding celebration at his home, 16 miles north of Vonda, Saskatchewan.
Plenty of people were in attendance and alcohol was flowing freely. Perhaps too freely, because the more it was consumed, the more evident the signs of trouble. According to the newspapers, two rival “gangs” were present at the celebration, and the more they drank, the more friction began to appear. Before long, a fight broke out outside the house between Jacob Schabaga (also spelled Alex Schabaga and Jowie Schebaga) and Fred Zadwormyz (also spelled Zadwornzy and Zeadwornj). The two had a longstanding feud and were known to be enemies in the community.
After the fight, Schabaga was standing in the hallway with his back to Zadwormyz while the wedding dance was in progress. According to witnesses, all of whom had been drinking, Zadwormyz, at the urging of his friends, struck Schabaga over the head with a piece of iron. Death was nearly instantaneous.
The next day, a Coroner’s Inquest was held, followed immediately by a preliminary hearing for Fred Zadwormyz. He was committed to stand trial for murder. His two friends, Peter Millar and Harry Halkocitch, were briefly held as accessories but weren’t charged.
The trial opened on March 20, 1917, before Justice Brown in Humboldt. The crown was represented by J. McCearer (also spelled McCarar) and for the defense was C.A. Irvine and H.A. Ebbels. Zadwormyz was only 17 years old.
The defense team worked hard on behalf of Zadwormyz. They fought to get a statement allegedly made by Zadwormyz to the police while under arrest at Vonda thrown out. It was apparently to the effect that he’d hit the deceased at the wedding. They were unsuccessful and the statement was admitted.
Next, they brought a witness to the stand named Petro Wallidna, who stated that Harry Halkocitch had admitted to him after the preliminary hearing that Zadwormyz had hit the deceased, but he didn’t fall, so Halkocitch had hit him, then he fell and didn’t get up again.
Despite their efforts, Fred Zadwormyz was found guilty of manslaughter on March 23, 1917, with a strong recommendation for mercy. On March 24, 1917 he was sentenced to five years at the penitentiary.
Whether he struck the fatal blow or not, one thing is certain. None of them knew how to behave at a wedding.
And that is the story of a murder at a wedding near Vonda, Saskatchewan.
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Information for this post came from the following editions of the Regina Leader-Post, the Saskatoon Daily Star and the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix: Nov 22, 1916, March 13, 1917, March 22, 1917, March 24, 1917
If you’d like to read more historical true crime from Saskatchewan, give these a try:
A Case for Mittens: The Shooting of Solomon Maddock
The Suspicious Death of Thomas Gore
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