Mark Stobbe writes books after acquittal in wife's death

Mark Stobbe, a former political adviser to the Manitoba and Saskatchewan governments, says he has written two books stemming from the murder trial earlier this year that resulted in his acquittal in the 2000 killing of his wife, Beverly Rowbotham.

Former Manitoba, Saskatchewan adviser speaks for 1st time since murder trial

RAW Mark Stobbe talks about his wife's death

CBC News: Winnipeg at 6:00

8 years ago
In this interview excerpt, Mark Stobbe talks to the CBC's Angela Johnston about the possibility there may never be justice in the slaying of his wife, Beverly Rowbotham. 2:02

Mark Stobbe, a former political adviser to the Manitoba and Saskatchewan governments, says he has written two books stemming from the murder trial earlier this year that resulted in his acquittal in the 2000 killing of his wife, Beverly Rowbotham.

Stobbe, 53, was acquitted in March of second-degree murder. The body of Rowbotham, 42, was found in the family car in Selkirk, Man, in October 2000.

In his first interview since the acquittal, Stobbe told CBC News he has written one book with his account of the high-profile trial, and another about his time in remand.

"Being on trial for murder is not a profitable exercise," Stobbe said, when asked if he is trying to profit from his wife's death.

Stobbe spoke to the CBC's Angela Johnston from Saskatoon, where he has been living with his two sons and trying to lead a private life.

Stobbe said people still recognize him "fairly often" from the trial, and he realizes some people will always believe he killed his wife.
Beverly Rowbotham was found dead in the family car at a gas station in Selkirk, Man., in October 2000. (CBC)

"You can only deal with things that you can do something about. I mean, what will be will be," he said.

Stobbe said he must accept there may never be justice for Rowbotham. He described her as a fun and loving person.

"What I try to do is remember and savour the good times," he said, adding that he makes sure their sons remember her as well.

"I've tried to keep her memory alive by telling stories and by having pictures around," he said.

Mostly circumstantial case

Stobbe had worked as a senior adviser to former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow before moving to Manitoba in the spring of 2000 for a job with Gary Doer's NDP government at the time.

Rowbotham's body was found on Oct. 25, 2000, in the family car, parked at a Selkirk gas station.

She had 16 chop wounds to the head, according to autopsy results presented at trial.

The Crown argued that Stobbe struck Rowbotham repeatedly with a hatchet in the yard of their rural property in St. Andrews, Man., drove her body to Selkirk, then rode a bicycle 15 kilometres back home to report her missing.

Stobbe has maintained that he fell asleep while his wife went grocery shopping at the Selkirk Safeway in the late-night hours of Oct. 24, and woke up several hours later to find she had not returned.
RCMP at the Selkirk, Man., gas station where Rowbotham's body was found in October 2000. (CBC)

The Crown's case was mostly circumstantial, as there were no witnesses and a murder weapon was never found.

Prosecutors presented DNA evidence that showed blood, hair and small bone fragments from Rowbotham were found in the couple's backyard.

Defence lawyers argued that Stobbe had no reason to kill Rowbotham, as the couple had a generally normal and happy marriage.

The defence also noted that unknown male DNA was found on Rowbotham's purse, suggesting that someone other than Stobbe could have been involved.

Following a two-month trial in Winnipeg involving more than 80 witnesses, the jury found Stobbe not guilty on March 29.

The Crown has said it will not appeal the verdict, as a review of the trial found there was no legal error to pursue.

RCMP said there are no suspects in the case and it is not under investigation at this time.

When asked if his sons — now teenagers — ever doubted his innocence, Stobbe said, "Not to my knowledge … I've never seen any indication of it."

Struggled to find work

In July, Stobbe stepped down as executive director of the Saskatchewan Craft Council, a position he had held for about five years. He took a leave of absence while the criminal charge was before the courts.

The craft council said Stobbe's departure was mutually agreed upon by both parties.

Stobbe said he has applied for hundreds of jobs — from management positions to janitorial work — without much success.

"People's body language, manner … they don't want to have much to do with you," he said.

These days, Stobbe said he is pursuing graduate studies in social sciences at the University of Saskatchewan, with the goal of earning a PhD and teaching.

Stobbe said he has dated, but he has no plans to remarry anytime soon, as he had found the right person once in his life — Rowbotham, his wife.