Nfld. & Labrador

Alleged drunk driver accused of killing couple in Lark Harbour released to return to Alberta

The man accused of driving drunk and killing a husband and wife in Lark Harbour on Boxing Day has been released.

Marilyn Sheppard, 51, and her husband Merle Sheppard, 59, were killed Boxing Day

Alleged Drunk Driver

Here and Now

4 years ago
Alfred Joyce is charged with impaired driving causing deaths of a couple in Lark Harbour. 0:29

The man accused of driving drunk and killing a husband and wife in Lark Harbour, on Newfoundland's west coast, on Boxing Day has been released. 

Walter Alfred Joyce, 45, was released in a Corner Brook courtroom on Wednesday morning.

He may return back to Alberta until his next court appearance on Jan. 17. 

The small community of Lark Harbour, with roughly 500 residents, is reeling from the deaths. 

Police confirmed Joyce had family connections with Merle and Marilyn Sheppard, the couple he allegedly killed. 

CBC News has learned he is the brother-in-law of Marilyn Sheppard. 

Joyce, who goes by his middle name Alfred, lives and works in Fort McMurray, Alta., but had returned to Lark Harbour to visit family for Christmas. 

He is charged with impaired driving causing the deaths of Marilyn Sheppard, 51, and Merle Sheppard, 59, with a blood alcohol level over 80 milligrams at the time. 

The couple was walking home along Little Port Road following a family Christmas celebration, when they were allegedly struck and killed in the early hours of Dec. 26 by Joyce, who was leaving the same event in his vehicle. 

Walter Alfred Joyce, 45, was released in court in Corner Brook on Wednesday morning. (Cherie Wheeler/CBC)

A number of people filled the courtroom Wednesday, speaking to lawyers with the Crown and defence.

Joyce was released on a $4,000 cash deposit for surety plus a $500 bond.

He's being represented by lawyer Robbie Ash. 

With files from Cherie Wheeler