1st-degree murder charge in death of Sask. RCMP officer 'helps set things right,' mother says
Const. Shelby Patton, 26, was killed in June after being hit by truck RCMP say was stolen in Manitoba
New charges have been laid against two people arrested in the June death of a Saskatchewan police officer, RCMP said Friday, and now include a charge of first-degree murder for one of those people.
Indian Head RCMP Const. Shelby Patton was killed on duty on June 12, 2021, while conducting a traffic stop in Wolseley, a town east of Regina. The vehicle he had stopped — a truck stolen in Manitoba — struck and killed the 26-year-old officer, according to police.
Two people from Winnipeg were arrested and initially charged with manslaughter. Those charges have now been withdrawn and replaced, RCMP say.
After further investigation and consultation with prosecutors, one of the two suspects, Alphonse Stanley Traverse, 42, is now charged with one count of first-degree murder, Saskatchewan RCMP said in a news release Friday.
The other person arrested, Marlene Velma Louise Pagee, 43, now faces one count of accessory after the fact to murder.
Along with the new charges, Traverse and Pagee remain charged with failure to stop after an accident resulting in death, theft of a motor vehicle and possession of stolen property over $5,000.
Melanie Patton, the officer's mother, said his family is relieved by the new charges.
"It helps set things right. As it states in the Criminal Code — murder one for the murder of a police officer," she said in a statement.
Brief court appearances
Under the Criminal Code, the killing of an on-duty officer is automatically considered first-degree murder. A conviction on that charge carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Traverse and Pagee, both of whom have been in custody since they were arrested in June, made brief appearance by video in Regina provincial court on Friday. They are scheduled to return to provincial court on Dec. 2.
A bail report has been requested for Pagee.
It is expected if she is released, she'll be staying in Winnipeg until trial.
The RCMP also issued a statement in a media release on Friday.
"Time continues to pass, but we will not forget the ultimate sacrifice of our friend and colleague, Const. Patton," said assistant commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP.
With files from Bonnie Allen and Theresa Kliem