Widow wins court fight to rebury slain Mountie's body
RCMP officer killed in Mayerthorpe, Alta., will be exhumed, moved to Regina
An Alberta judge has sided with a slain Mountie's widow who wants her husband's remains exhumed from his resting place in northern Alberta and reburied at the national RCMP cemetery in Regina.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Dennis Thomas rejected a bid by Const. Leo Johnston's mother to block the move. She had argued that her son's remains should stay in Lac La Biche, where he was born and raised.
The constable was one of four Mounties gunned down by James Roszko during a stakeout on his property near Mayerthorpe, Alta., in March 2005.
Johnston died without leaving a will, but his wife is the administrator of his estate.
"There is nothing unusual on the face of the application or in any of the supporting materials," the ruling said of the permit issued by Alberta's vital statistics director to allow Kelly Johnston to move her husband's remains.
"No procedural errors amounting to …a lack of fairness have been made."
The widow wrote in a document presented to the court that initially, she agreed with the Johnston family to have their son buried in Lac La Biche, but she was not aware at that point about the RCMP cemetery in Regina.
"Knowing my husband, I truly believe that he would have chosen the RCMP cemetery ... as his final resting place," she wrote. "I believe in my heart that this act of reinterment is the best way to honour and respect my husband and that is the way he would have wished to be immortalized."
Greg Lintz, who represented the parents, Ron and Grace Johnston, had argued that the family visits the grave site every day and "to take that away is certainly not advisable."
Kelly Johnston made a statement through one of her lawyers, Kevin Feth.
"She would like this matter to leave the public spotlight so that she may deal with Leo's remains in private," said Feth.
"She will involve Leo's parents in the disinterment and she hopes that the disinterment can be handled privately with dignity and as one family."