OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says it won’t review the sentences of two men who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting deaths of four Alberta RCMP officers.
Dennis Cheeseman and Shawn Hennessey admitted they gave gunman James Roszko a rifle and a ride back to his farm the night before he ambushed four Mounties near Mayerthorpe in 2005.
The officers were staking out a marijuana grow-op and auto chop-shop that had been discovered on his property.
Hennessey was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while Cheeseman got 12 years. But their jail times were reduced by the trial judge because they pleaded guilty and spent time in pretrial custody.
The two unsuccessfully asked the Alberta Court of Appeal to further shorten their sentences. Their lawyers argued the punishment was vengeful and too severe.
The men, who are brothers-in-law, said they feared for their own safety and that of their families if they didn’t help Roszko.
The Supreme Court, as is customary, gave no reasons for its decision Thursday.
Constables Anthony Gordon, Leo Johnston, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann were killed by Roszko on his farm near Mayerthorpe on March 3, 2005.
Roszko killed himself after being shot by another Mountie.
Cheeseman’s actual sentence worked out to seven years, two months and 15 days. Hennessey’s is 10 years, four months and 15 days.
In last September’s Appeal Court ruling, two of the three Alberta justices wrote that the sentences were appropriate for the part the men played in the worst such crime in Canadian history.
Justices Jean Cote and Elizabeth McFadyen also wrote that Roszko probably would not have succeeded without Hennessey and Cheeseman’s help.
But Justice Peter Martin wrote a dissenting opinion that suggested Cheeseman did almost nothing to facilitate the crime and the court should reconsider his sentence.
Cheeseman was denied parole in May.