Parole granted to farmer who shot oilpatch exec
A Bowden-area farmer who gunned down an oilpatch executive in a dispute over well contamination in 1998 has been granted full parole.
The Parole Board of Canada granted Eifion (Wayne) Roberts — who was serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 15 years — full parole in a Sept. 18 hearing. It is effective as of Oct. 3.
The board released Roberts, 69, on a number of conditions, including that he have no contact with relatives of his victim, Patrick Kent, who was a vice-president with Calgary’s KB Resources Inc.
Roberts was imprisoned after being convicted by a jury of second-degree murder in November 2000.
Kent, a 42-year-old father of four, was shot five times — four times in the head — when he and several other oil company officials visited the ranch on Oct. 3, 1998, to check a wellsite.
Roberts had a long-running dispute with the oil company, which he said was contaminating land on his ranch, 30 km west of Bowden.
During the 2000 trial, witnesses testified that Roberts, armed with a pistol, shot Kent, who fell to the ground. The prosecutor said Roberts then fired several more bullets into the prone man’s head.
Roberts admitted during his trial to shooting Kent, but said it was in self defence.
In sentencing Roberts, Justice Peter Martin repeatedly called him ‘’dangerous’’ for ambushing Kent and gunning him down. ‘’This was an execution without any justification,’’ said the Court of Queen’s Bench judge.
The Alberta Court of Appeal later upheld the conviction, but the ruling was not unanimous, so the case was automatically sent to the Supreme Court. The high court upheld the conviction in 2005.