Alleged kidnapping ringleader denied release

Ponoka provincial court is working to keep the matters of the seven co-accused on a drug related kidnapping

Zachary Purdy

Zachary Purdy

Ponoka provincial court is working to keep the matters of the seven co-accused on a drug related kidnapping on Dec. 17, 2014 together as proceedings continue.

Christine Kirkeby (29) of Red Deer; Shane Kerik (42) of Lacombe County; Tyler Scott (21) of Red Deer; Lane Dickson (19) of Red Deer; Ashley Shewchuk (28) of Ponoka; Zackary Purdy (24) of Innisfail; James Miller-Laney (28) of Ponoka are facing joints charges of break, enter and commit robbery using a firearm, assault with intent to steal while armed with an offensive weapon, use of a firearm during kidnapping, carry imitation of a weapon, utter threats to kill and unlawful confinement.

They appeared briefly in court on Friday, Jan. 29 and the case will return on Friday, Feb. 13 for election and plea, which will be the group’s fifth appearance.

Election and plea was ordered peremptory for Jan. 29, but because some of the accused are still without legal representation and because neither Kirkeby nor her counsel were present, it was decided that constituted a major factor in considering the case and it would be best to wait until the next hearing.

A minor amendment was made to Shewchuk’s court order. It previously stated she was not allowed to have any type of cellular phone, radio or other mobile communication device. But because her address is transient, the court felt it would be best to have a communication channel available to her.

Purdy denied bail

Zackary Purdy’s release was denied on an adamant suggestion from Crown Prosecutor S. Degen.

Many of the other co-accused have pointed fingers at Purdy as the ringleader of the kidnapping, which occurred over an alleged $200 drug debt.

It was also felt his release may impede public safety.

On Dec. 17, four males broke into the victim’s house with weapons including an assault rifle carried by Purdy.

It has also been suggested that Purdy threatened to knock the victim’s teeth down his throat and was driving the maroon SUV that RCMP located later that day in a high-risk traffic stop at the Ponoka ESSO.

With a criminal record that dates back to 2011, Purdy has served jail time for other offenses and his past felonies includes property offenses, three instances of driving while disqualified, failing to appear, assault, assault causing bodily harm, assaulting a police officer and possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes.

“The record is bad and it’s getting worse,” said Degen.

The court was cautioned by the defense counsel that the accusations against Purdy should be viewed with skepticism, as his co-accused may not be the most reliable voices.

In the hope of having his release accepted, Purdy had prepared a plan for the court. He intended to move back in with his mother in Grand Prairie, who is a steady influence, play a larger part in the lives of his children and work in the oilfield.

He presented conditions he would be willing to follow including a curfew, no firearms or weapons, absolutely no contact with the co-accused and no alcohol. He was also hoping for a high no-cash bail.

The six other people involved were all given cash bails and Degen felt it would be inappropriate to change the rules for Purdy.

Purdy also has a history of non-compliance.