The girlfriend of a Sooke Hells Angels prospect killed in 2017 qualifies as a spouse even though he was still married and also living with his wife at the time, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.
Justice Jennifer Duncan said that Michael Widner “left a complicated legacy” when he was killed in March 2017 — two women claiming to be his spouse, each with two children and each claiming a right to his assets.
Sabrina Widner married Michael at a wedding in Mexico in 2008, attended by high-profile Hells Angel Bob Green, himself murdered years later. Their kids were born in 2005 and 2006.
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Sara Boughton hooked up with Michael in 2009. He promised her he was going to leave his wife though he never did. They also had two children, in 2014 and 2015.
While Boughton knew of Sabrina Widner, Widner only learned of her husband’s “secret household” after his death, Duncan said.
During her marriage, Widner was listed as the sole owner of three Sooke properties that she said her husband had no interest in.
But Boughton sued Widner, saying Michael “told her many times over the course of their relationship that he paid for several properties which were registered in his wife’s name.”
She asked the court to declare that his estate should include “half of the value of the property held in Ms. Widner’s name” including the proceeds from one house that was sold.
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Duncan ruled that both women qualified as the dead biker’s spouses, so both should be entitled to half his estate. And she agreed with Boughton that the estate should include some of the cash that the late Hells Angel had contributed to his wife’s mortgages over the years.
She ordered Widner to pay $150,000, plus interest, into the estate, which will be split between the two families.
Michael was a 39-year-old prospect with the Nanaimo Hells Angels when his body was found near Port Renfrew four years ago. His killing remains unsolved.
“The deceased was able to maintain two separate households because he told Ms. Widner he was working part of the week on the other side of Vancouver Island from the Widner household, when he was actually spending time with Ms. Boughton,” Duncan said. “The deceased kept up a regular schedule, alternating between the two households.”
Michael Widner’s parents testified that they knew about Boughton and the second family but never told his wife or the older children. None of Michael’s siblings knew of Boughton and the younger kids, who were living in a rented house in Shawnigan when he was killed.
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His mother, Reta Acorn, testified that her son was involved in cocaine deals with Green, the Hells Angel killed in 2016, and that he paid for the Sooke properties with the proceeds from the drug trade.
“Ms. Acorn said her son was afraid of civil forfeiture, so he put everything in Ms. Widner’s name, although she conceded that she never saw any purchase or financing documents for the properties,” Duncan said, though she later rejected Acorn’s testimony as unreliable.
Widner testified that she was unaware her husband was involved in any illegal activity or in the Hells Angels.
She “said the deceased worked at a variety of enterprises, including fishing charters, cutting and delivering wood, and working with bailiffs to buy closed businesses and then selling the contents.”
He later rented out a workshop at one of the Sooke properties “for a legal medical-marijuana grow operation,” Widner said.
Duncan heard that Rick Alexander, the president of the Devil’s Army biker club, was also involved in the pot operation. Alexander is awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge.
Widner said that after her husband’s body was found, “she met a man called Shawn in a parking lot with another individual.”
“They talked to her about Mike’s affiliation with the Hells Angels and how he was going through the ‘program’ and they wanted to ‘vest’ his casket. If she allowed them to do that, the Hells Angels would pay for the funeral,” Duncan said. “Ms. Widner told them she would do her own thing but they could attend the service.”