Red Deer’s top cop attends Mayerthorpe inquiry

Red Deer’s top police officer is on a two-week stint at the public inquiry into the deaths of four Mounties killed in Mayerthorpe.

Red Deer’s top police officer is on a two-week stint at the public inquiry into the deaths of four Mounties killed in Mayerthorpe.

Supt. Brian Simpson said on Wednesday that the murder of the four officers was a significant event in the history of the RCMP.

“We finally have an opportunity to provide the full story.

“We wanted a senior officer here (Stony Plain) to show the organization’s importance they put on this event,” Simpson said of his role at the inquiry.

He was speaking during a break in the hearing, which started on Jan. 10.

The four Mounties — constables Brock Myrol of Red Deer, Leo Johnston, Peter Schiemann, and Anthony Gordon — died on March 3, 2005, after being ambushed by James Roszko on his Mayerthorpe property.

Simpson accompanied the Central Alberta RCMP emergency response team (ERT) to Mayerthorpe the day of the killings.

He said his role at the inquiry was to provide comfort to the families of the slain officers.

“It’s been very emotional.

“I can tell you that every member who was at the scene and testified has definitely been impacted by it and you could see it when they testified.”

Simpson said there have been positives from the inquiry.

He said it’s been an opportunity to have some “answers to questions that have been lingering for some time.”

He said the inquiry has hopefully helped provided some closure for the families of the slain officers.

Simpson said the delay in the process leading up to the inquiry has been trying.

It was delayed for years by the police investigation and later court convictions of Shawn Hennessy and Dennis Cheeseman, who assisted Roszko by driving him back to his farm after he first fled the property, and giving him a rifle.

He said Hennessy and Cheeseman aren’t testifying at the inquiry because their roles “have already been identified.”

Simpson said when the two pleaded guilty, an agreed statement of facts was worked out by their lawyers and the Crown prosecutor.

“They were sentenced. They appealed and the sentences were upheld.”

He said the agreed statement is a public record and is available on the RCMP website on the Internet.

“So there’s really no need to revisit that part of the process because it’s done.”

“What more do you want? Those facts are there.”

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com