Two accused in Mountie slayings fail to show up
Friends and family huddled on the front steps of a tiny courtroom yesterday, sharing hugs and tears, in support of two Alberta men charged in the shooting deaths of four RCMP officers.
Shawn Hennessey, 28, and Dennis Cheeseman, 23, were not present in the provincial court of Mayerthorpe while observers jammed the viewing area for their first court appearance.
Provincial Court Judge Ken Tjosvold quickly adjourned the case against the two men from Barrhead, Alta., until Aug. 9, giving lawyers more time to review the evidence.
Hennessey’s wife, Christine, who is also the sister of Cheeseman, attended the brief court appearance, but refused to speak to the media about the charges against her husband and brother.
Outside the courtroom, defence lawyer D’Arcy DePoe said he hadn’t reviewed any of the evidence yet and may have more to tell reporters after their next court date.
“We’re very gratified by the support coming from the community of these two young men,” he said.
Hennessey and Cheeseman are accused of assisting James Roszko, who shot and killed four young Mounties — constables Anthony Gordon, Leo Johnston, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann — on March 3, 2005, before later turning the gun on himself.
Police have already stated the two Barrhead men were not on Roszko’s property the day he allegedly ambushed and killed the four officers. Their involvement is believed to be through aiding or abetting Roszko, a known cop hater, in some way.
Crown prosecutor Steven Koval said he expects to sift through “binders and binders” of evidence as the two men are charged with four counts each of first-degree murder.
“They are jointly going to be charged with the four counts, and when they’re jointly charged, that means they’re prosecuted at the same time in the same hearing,” he said.
Residents of Mayerthorpe have shown little interest in the case — in stark contrast to many Barrhead residents who have openly criticized the justice system.