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Alberta

Sentencing submissions for Alberta man accused of killing his partner's sister

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RED DEER, Alta. — Court has heard that a central Alberta man who admits he killed his common-law wife’s sister during a domestic dispute shot the victim as she was trying to protect her sibling.

Marshall Stone, who is 47, pleaded guilty in June to second-degree murder and unlawfully discharging a firearm in the death of 28-year-old Ashley Smith-Ames.

Stone was in a relationship with her sister, Alexis Ames, and the three were living together in a townhouse in Rocky Mountain House, Alta., in July 2019 with three children between the ages of four and 10.

An agreed statement of facts presented in a Red Deer courtroom says Stone had been drinking before he got home from work, and started arguing with his partner while the children were watching TV in the next room.

The statement says Stone retrieved a rifle from downstairs and started pointing and shooting at Ames, who was not hit.

It says the sisters started screaming at Stone as he reloaded the rifle and again pointed it at Ames, but Smith-Ames stepped between them and was shot.

The children ran out the back door of the home, screaming for help, while Ames picked up a chair and hit Stone with it, the statement says. She was cut on the head during a brief struggle with Stone before she ran out the front door.

Court heard Smith-Ames had been shot through the eye, and was still alive and on the floor, when Stone shot her again in the back of the head. An autopsy determined she may have survived after the first gunshot, but the second was fatal.

Stone turned himself in to the RCMP later that night. He told officers he had little memory of the shooting, the agreed statement of facts says.

Crown prosecutor Greg Gordon is seeking a sentence of life in prison with no parole eligibility for 15 years on the murder charge and a four-year custodial sentence for the firearms charge. 

Defence lawyer Walter Raponi is seeking parole eligibility after 12 years.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast is to present her decision Oct. 15. (reddeernewsNOW)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2021

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Alberta

Suspect found fit to stand trial in Calgary machete attacks

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CALGARY — A Calgary man charged following two downtown machete attacks has been found fit to stand trial.

Conner Dery, who is 25, is charged with aggravated assault and carrying a concealed weapon in the attacks last week at a light-rail transit platform and a nearby bus shelter.

Police say the attacks appeared to be random and two people were sent to hospital.

Police have confirmed that Dery is the son of a Calgary Police Service officer who recognized his son on CCTV footage and notified investigators.

Dery was in court Wednesday and a psychiatrist found that, despite having suffered a brain injury when he was 12, Dery is able to stand trial.

An Edmonton prosecutor has been appointed to handle the case, which is to be back in court Oct. 26.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2021.

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Alberta

Alberta country stars band together on song opposing Rockies coal mining

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Alberta country singer Corb Lund has banded together with a few musical friends to re-release a 12-year-old song with a new focus on the possibility of open-pit coal mining in his beloved Rocky Mountains. 

The song, This Is My Prairie, features Alberta country luminaries including Brett Kissel, Terri Clark and Paul Brandt and others in a new version that Lund hopes will become an anthem of opposition to the proposed developments. 

Lund says the song was first written as a story about a rancher trying to preserve countryside.

He now says the lyrics match word for word with the fight many Alberta ranchers have launched against mining development.

He says it was easy to convince other singers to join him in the release — the proceeds of which will be donated to local groups concerned about coal mining.

The Alberta government is currently waiting to hear recommendations from a panel that’s been canvassing Albertans to see how, or if, they want that type of development.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2021.

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