“Megan, where are you?”
Those were the words read over and over by Brian Gallagher in Saskatoon provincial court on Wednesday, directed at 42-year-old Earnest Whitehead.
Whitehead was accused in connection with the murder of Megan Gallagher, Brian’s daughter, and faced her family and friends for the first time on Wednesday during his sentencing hearing.
Brian called out his daughter’s name through tears while he read a poem written about the two-year-long search for her.
He asked Whitehead to replace Megan’s name with that of his own 14-year-old daughter’s who was sitting in the courtroom.
“All I have today are memories,” Brian said to Whitehead. “All I have today are pictures.”
Gallagher disappeared in September 2020. Nine people were charged in her murder after her remains were found near the St. Louis River in November 2023.
Saskatoon police investigations confirmed Gallagher had been killed in a garage at 709 Weldon Ave. on Nov. 24, 2020, where Whitehead lived.
Whitehead was the first accused in Gallagher’s murder and charged with offering indignity to human remains after helping dispose of her body.
On Wednesday, Whitehead was sentenced to two years and seven days of jail time.
It’s the same amount of time that passed between the day Gallagher when missing and when her remains were found.
Brian said the length of time was fitting.
Eleven of Gallagher’s family members and friends sat eye-to-eye with Whitehead in an overflowing courtroom to tell him of the pain that his actions have caused them.
A statement of the facts told the court that Whitehead saw Gallagher tied to a chair in his garage on Nov. 24 and then dragged away.
He claimed the next time he saw her, she was dead.
With the help of John Wayne Sanderson, the two wrapped her body in a tarp and drove her to the St. Louis bridge where they threw her into the river.
Sanderson was sentenced to three years in jail on March 1.
“You kept the secret for two years while the rest of the world suffered,” Brian told him. “One of the only consolations that we have is that you returned Megan to the homeland.”
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“Every single day for over two years, we died a little,” Gallagher’s stepmother Debbie read in her statement.
“One day, you are going to have to answer to higher authorities.”
Whitehead only began crying when someone he knew stood up to face him.
“Over the years I would ask about you,” Wendy Sekulich told him. “I always thought you had a good heart.”
Sekulich, Gallagher’s aunt, said she was also Whitehead’s teacher through grades nine to 12 and had felt like throwing up when she heard of his involvement.
“I believed in him; he was a good kid. How his life turned around I don’t know. Did he have a rough life? Yes, he did, but so did a lot of other people. It’s what we choose to do with it.”
Whitehead apologized to the family, but the Gallaghers said they don’t know if they can accept it yet.
“I don’t know yet,” Brian said. “But that is all there is.”
He said that he did believe Whitehead was trying to make an attempt at listening to the family.
“I taught my students for years, saying sorry and being sorry are two different things,” Sekulich added.
Whitehead is the third to be sentenced in connection with Gallagher’s case. The fates of the six remaining accused are still before the courts.
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