A sentencing hearing is coming up for Ryan Jake Applegarth for the manslaughter of a Wetaskiwin man while he awaits trial for the killing of Ponoka mother Chantelle Firingstoney.
Applegarth has been convicted of the manslaughter of Jamison Samuel Louis, who was killed in Wetaskiwin on Jan. 3, 2020. He was charged with second degree murder but was convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter on April 7, 2022 by Justice S.D. Hillier.
Louis, 34, was shot in the chest and his common law partner Nicole Moonias identified Applegarth as the shooter. She also told police Applegarth was the boyfriend of someone whose mother she knew well.
Louis and Moonias had been living in a single-family home in Wetaskiwin and were raising four children, aged three to 15.
The summary of evidence in the judge’s written decision stated that because the couple’s expenses exceeded their income, Louis sold some drugs from their residence.
Moonias said she had limited knowledge of this and was expressly disapproving of it. Louis was a previous member of a gang but had left to better meet his family obligations.
That evening, Applegarth had come to the residence and after knocking, Moonias testified she heard Louis tell him to come back later.
He left within a few minutes but returned about an hour later. Moonias testified he pointed a gun into the residence through the partially opened door and that he was wearing a mask.
Louis then grabbed the barrel of the gun while attempting to close the door. Moonias was told to take their three-year-old son and go upstairs.
However, just as she reached the stairs, the door was kicked in and she heard a gunshot.
The responding officer to the scene, Cst. Nicholas Doyle, testified that when he arrived he observed a male bleeding profusely on the floor just inside the front door and another male performing CPR. Moonias was crying in the living room and said Applegarth had shot her husband and left on foot carrying a shotgun.
The autopsy report stated the wound sustained by Louis was a “grazing,” but was nonetheless fatal as it damaged his heart and liver.
In his various RCMP interviews, Applegarth consistently denied being at the residence at the time Louis was shot, but acknowledged he was there earlier in the evening.
In a statement to police he said “I went to buy weed and that was it. I didn’t go f****** kill him.”
In his written decision, Hillier said upon careful consideration, he did not believe Applegarth’s assertion that he did not go back to the home an hour later, and that his assertions he never saw children in the residence were “dismissive and unpersuasive.”
Hillier concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that Applegarth was the shooter, having come to the residence a second time carrying the shotgun which discharged, killing Louis.
Due to the evidence there was a struggle for the gun and a lack of evidence regarding whether the trigger was pulled on purpose or accidentally, he was found not guilty of second degree murder, but guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The sentencing hearing is set for Nov. 3 at the Wetaskiwin Court of Queen’s Bench.
While out on bail for the homicide of Louis, Applegarth was arrested and charged for the second degree murder of Firingstoney, who was stated to be his girlfriend during the Louis trial.
Firingstoney, 26, was found deceased in a Ponoka residence on Nov. 5, 2020.
After a two-day preliminary hearing on that case, Applegarth was committed to stand trial on March 17, 2022. A five-day trial has been set for May 1 to 5, 2023.