One of two men charged with first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of four Mounties in Mayerthorpe was granted bail yesterday.
Shawn Hennessey, 28, who wore a white-collared shirt and a suit jacket smiled to his visibly emotional family moments after Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donald Manderscheid read his one-hour-long verdict yesterday.
The entire verdict can’t be reported because of a media publication ban.
“We’re thrilled,” said Hennessey’s aunt, Criss Hennessey outside the courthouse to reporters yesterday.
“This is a first step in a very long process; he’s going home to where he should be.”
Hennessy must follow strict bail conditions that include maintaining his employment, along with living at his acreage near the town of Barrhead. He must also report to his probation officer, and he is not allowed to talk to Dennis Cheeseman, the other man charged in the case.
“It’s been tough, very tough, but we all support him,” said Criss Hennessey. “He’s missed so much of his kids’ lives … He has already missed his daughter’s first day of kindergarten.”
Both Hennessey and Cheeseman, 23, are each charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
Both are accused of assisting notorious cop-hater James Roszko, who gunned down four young Mounties near Mayerthorpe, 120 km northwest of Edmonton, on March 3, 2005.
Roszko took his own life after a gunfight with police at his Quonset hut where the four fallen officers were on guard — constables Peter Schiemann, Anthony Gordon, Leo Johnston and Brock Myrol.
Both Hennessey and Cheeseman have been in jail for the past nine months and a preliminary hearing into their case is scheduled to begin next month in Stony Plain. Cheeseman has yet to apply for bail.
Hennessey’s aunt said the entire town of Barrhead, where the two accused are from, rallied in support of the family. “The whole town is going to be thrilled,” said Criss Hennessey.
Family and friends have also created a website to raise funds to pay for legal fees.
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