BY MURRAY CRAWFORD
Tearful and guilt-ridden, a retired Mountie pleaded guilty to leaving a loaded handgun in his bedroom. The weapon was used by his wife to commit suicide.
Garth Anholt, 57, of Red Deer pleaded guilty to one count of improper storage of a firearm in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday.
His wife, Theresa Anholt, 57, used the firearm to commit suicide.
“She was my everything,” Anholt said in an interview on Tuesday. “It’s been a long year and a long process.”
Calgary Judge Les Grieve ordered a conditional discharge. If Anholt successfully completes nine months of probation, he will not have a criminal record.
Anholt spent his career in law enforcement in Hinton, Gleichen and Red Deer. He was also a civilian employee with the Red Deer RCMP, serving as a liaison between the detachment and the Red Deer Courthouse.
Defence counsel Will Willms said Anholt has lost his employment as a result of the incident.
On June 26, 2014, he left a loaded .357 magnum in the couple’s bedroom. Reading in the facts of the incident, Crown prosecutor Emanuel Vomberg said the gun was not in a locked safe, nor did it have a trigger lock as is required for the proper storage of a firearm.
And safe storage requirement of keeping ammunition and the firearm separate was not complied with.
Garth found his wife, Theresa, after she committed suicide.
Although he was a retired RCMP member and worked with the force in a civilian capacity, the firearm was his personal weapon.
Willms said his client co-operated fully with the police investigation in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
After the incident, he sought counselling for suicide survivors, ministerial counsel and other forms of support. The judge said that it was a positive step to do before probation ordered counselling.
The Crown and defence jointly submitted a sentencing application of a conditional discharge with nine months of probation.
Grieve agreed to go along with the sentencing application, saying Anholt had long employment and because of its nature, he had to be “of good character,” in his role as an RCMP member.