Man convicted in Mayerthorpe RCMP deaths to be released

Dennis Cheeseman, one of two men convicted in the 2005 deaths of four Alberta RCMP officers on a farm near Mayerthorpe, Alta., will soon be released from prison.

Dennis Cheeseman to be granted statutory release Nov. 19

Dennis Cheeseman, pictured here with a famiy member in 2008, has been granted a statutory release after serving two-thirds of his sentence. (The Canadian Press)

Dennis Cheeseman, one of two men convicted in the 2005 deaths of four Alberta RCMP officers on a farm near Mayerthorpe, Alta., will soon be released from prison.

Cheeseman and his brother-in-law Shawn Hennessey gave James Roszko a gun and a ride back to his farm prior to the shooting deaths of the officers.

For his involvement, Cheeseman was found guilty of manslaughter and handed a seven-year sentence.  

Cheeseman applied for parole in May 2011 but was turned down. Earlier this year, Cheeseman cancelled his request for a hearing in front of the parole board.

Now, the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) says he automatically qualifies for statutory release on Nov. 19.

In its four-page decision, the parole board notes, “Mr. Cheeseman, the nature and gravity of your offending was extremely serious and it had a devastating impact on the community, numerous victims and the police. Your actions were instrumental in facilitating the killings of four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers.”

“Your offences have drawn substantial notoriety and you are considered a high-profile offender,” the statement continues. 

“Your release may cause negative public reaction and a degree of hostility within the community and it is likely that you will experience some significant challenges while you continue to serve the remainder of your sentence in the community."

Unlike parole, statutory release is mandated by law and is not granted by a parole board. Most offenders are entitled to the supervised release after serving two-thirds of their sentence if they have not already been granted parole.

Once freed, Cheeseman will be supervised by the Correctional Service of Canada and will be required to report to a parole officer.

He will also need to abide by additional conditions placed on his release, including refraining from consuming drugs and alcohol and to continue psychological counselling. Cheeseman is also required to avoid people involved in criminal activity.

Should he fail to meet the conditions, Cheeseman may return to prison. However, corrections officers have rated Cheeseman as a "model prisoner" with low to moderate risk of re-offending.


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