Mountie shot 4 times while pinned in cruiser: Crown

Crown says killing of RCMP Const. Dennis Strongquill was 'very distasteful,' tells jury he was shot while trapped in wrecked cruiser

The trial of two people accused of shooting of an RCMP officer started its second day on Tuesday.

The jury in the first-degree murder trial of Robert Marlo Sand, 23, and Laurie Ann Bell, 20, are expected to hear from RCMP officers who arrested the pair in Wolseley, Sask.

On Monday, the Crown prosecutor told them a woman urged her boyfriend to kill an RCMP officer trapped inside a damaged police cruiser.

The shooting of Const. Dennis Strongquill occurred in December 2001.

"You're going to hear and see some very disturbing things as we go along," Crown prosecutor Bob Morrison warned jurors. "You're going to find the nature of the killing very distasteful."

A 20-year veteran of the police force, Strongquill was shot dead after a routine traffic stop outside Russell, Man.

He and his partner, Const. Brian Auger, pulled over a half-ton truck that that didn't turn down its high beams, according to the Crown. As the officers approached the vehicle they were shot at.

The Mounties ran back to their cruiser and fled, but the people in the truck chased them, the jury was told. It crashed into the police car, pinning Strongquill inside.

Bell yelled, "Kill him, kill him," and then Sand shot Strongquill with a sawed-off shotgun four times while he was trapped in the wreckage, Morrison told the trial.

"Const. Strongquill was wildly twisting and thrashing about as he tried escape a fate that he could not avoid," Morrison said in his opening statement.

The accused, both from Alberta, were later arrested 200 kilometres away at a Wolseley motel. Another suspect at the scene died in a shootout with police.

Strongquill's family attended the first day of the trial, expected to last 10 weeks.

His daughter Teresa said she found listening to the Crown description of her father's murder difficult. "I didn't realize I would feel this awful, but it is just like the first day they told me they killed my dad," she said.

The Crown told the court he would produce evidence found at the hotel, including weapons linked to Strongquill's killing and a diary he says belonged to Sand.

Morrison says the diary contains a warning that any police officer who got in their way would be sorry.

Earlier this year, lawyers for the accused challenged the first-degree murder charges. Greg Brodsky said that automatically elevating a murder charge to first-degree simply because the victim is a police officer is unconstitutional.

The argument was rejected. A conviction for first-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 25 years.