L-R: Leanne Firingstoney, Katherine Swampy, Melissa Moonias, Kandace Firingstoney and Chevi Rabbit. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

L-R: Leanne Firingstoney, Katherine Swampy, Melissa Moonias, Kandace Firingstoney and Chevi Rabbit. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

UPDATE: Family of Chantelle Firingstoney speaks out at Ponoka courthouse

Family members of Chantelle Firingstoney, who was killed in Ponoka a year ago, rallied outside the Ponoka Provincial Court today, Nov. 16.

The preliminary hearing for the accused in her death, Ryan Jake Applegarth, was set for today.

Firingstoney, 26, and mother of four, was found deceased in a residential complex in Ponoka on Nov. 5, 2020.

“I’m here for my late daughter, Chantelle Firingstoney,” said Leanne Firingstoney. “I just want justice for her. It’s been a very tough year for us all, her family.”

She added that community members were also outside the courthouse to show their support for the family.

Applegarth has been charged with the second degree murder of Chantelle Firingstoney and failure to comply with a release order.

The preliminary hearing for Applegarth was scheduled for Nov. 2 and 3, 2021, but according to Melissa Moonias, Chantelle’s aunt, who was present at the last court date, the date was postponed because Applegarth had symptoms of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Preliminary hearing against accused in Ponoka mother’s murder to be held next week

Moonias said they were fortunate the delay wasn’t longer, as it may have been months before a new date became available.

Katherine Swampy, councillor for Samson Cree Nation, was present outside the courthouse and said a few words on behalf of the community.

“It’s important for the family, not just to be here to show support for one another, but to have that feeling of closure and understanding. What happened, no one deserves,” said Swampy.

Swampy said her thoughts were with Chantelle’s youngest child today, her son.

“No one should have to go through that, and she left her son behind as a result of what happened.

“We’re hoping that the courts will understand the impact that this has had on the family and the community, because this really did have an impact on everybody within the community, not just Ponoka and Maskwacis, but within all of Alberta,” said Swampy.

“This isn’t just another statistic adding a name and adding a number to their missing and murdered Indigenous women list, this was a real person and she mattered. She was important and we’re still hurting and mourning to this day, so we’re hoping the courts will understand that.”

At a preliminary hearing, an individual can either be committed to stand trial or discharged.

On Nov. 16, court was adjourned. The family are now waiting to hear when the new dates for the preliminary hearing.

The reason for the delay, they were told, was due to poor road conditions between Ponoka and Red Deer.

Applegarth has also been charged with the second degree murder of Jamison Samuel Louis. Louis, 34, was killed in Wetaskiwin on Jan. 3, 2020.

The trial for the killing of Louis is scheduled for Feb. 14 to 18, 2022, at Wetaskiwin Court of Queen’s Bench.

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