Abduction brings charges: Police arrested four suspects involved in an alleged unlawful confinement of a Ponoka man Wednesday

Seven charged with abduction appear in court, four to be released on bail

Three suspects out of seven were remanded in custody by choice and four others were to be released pending bail

Three suspects out of seven were remanded in custody by choice and four others were to be released pending bail after their first court appearance on Friday, Dec. 19 over charges of abduction and unlawful confinement of a Ponoka resident over an alleged drug debt of $200.

Police arrested the seven suspects on Wednesday, Dec. 17 after they abducted a 23-year- old male from his home and forcibly confined him to another residence.

The seven accused are: 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 and James Miller-Laney (28) of Ponoka.

They jointly face charges of break, enter and commit robbery using a firearm; assault with the 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.

According to the details of the incident disclosed during the court proceedings, at approximately 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 17, four men arrived at the victim’s house and kicked down the door while in possession of what appeared to be a rifle, swords and machetes.

They forced those in the house to lie down on the floor while searching for valuable items. Before leaving, they told the victim they would return for him. The victim, who cannot be named, did not report the incident to police.

Crown prosecutor R. Clark told the court those who broke into the house that morning were part of a new drug trafficking gang operating in Ponoka. The abduction and confinement is said to have been triggered by $200 in drug money allegedly owed by the victim to one of the accused.

Later in the day, the suspects returned and took the victim to the confinement residence, where he remained for some time. The police were alerted to the incident by passersby, one of whom witnessed the victim being transported back to a maroon Chevy Suburban.

The suspects and the victim were located in the Suburban at the Stampede Esso gas station, where a high-risk traffic stop was conducted. Witnesses said several officers with their guns drawn were seen shouting at the suspects.

Police were seen taking away two swords for evidence after five individuals were arrested.

Later that same evening, an Emergency Response Team (ERT) was mobilized to assist Ponoka RCMP with the execution of a search warrant at the confinement residence. Witnesses say police blocked off the street and turned motorists around to ensure the home was secured. Two more people were arrested as result of the search of the residence.

At the beginning of the court proceedings on Friday, Judge W. Andreassen informed the accused they could choose to wait to apply for release on Jan. 2 or attempt to gain bail during their first appearance.

In the Jan. 2 hearing, the suspects will be able to notify the court how they want to be tried for their offences.

According to the criminal trial procedures, if the accused is charged with an indictable offence and the offence is not within the jurisdiction of the provincial court, the accused can choose which court will hear the case. The accused may choose to be tried by a provincial court judge without a jury and without a preliminary inquiry; by a Queen’s Bench justice without a jury, or, by a Queen’s Bench justice and jury.

Early in the proceedings Kerik’s bail was set at $2,000 with a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew condition attached.

Purdy opted to reserve his election until Jan. 2 and remain in detention at the Edmonton Remand Centre where he will appear in court via CCTV.

Scott and Dickson also chose to be remanded in custody. “They all wish the issue of release to go over to Jan. 2,” said Clark.

Regarding Purdy, the Crown requested a no contact order, directly or indirectly, with Kirkeby, Shewchuk, Miller-Laney, the victim or another man who lives in the same residence as the victim. He had clothing and swords stolen from him on Dec. 13.

Purdy objected to a no contact order with Kirkeby, who is his common-law wife, but Andreassen ordered it anyway.

Scott was issued the same no contact order.

The Crown was opposed to Kirkeby’s release as she has a fail to appear conviction for a less serious situation on her criminal record, stated Clark.

Through duty counsel, Kirkeby claimed she was not in the SUV when it was pulled over by police. However the pre-sentence investigation (PSI) report contradicted her account. Judge Andreassen told Kirkeby she had the opportunity to provide an explanation to the confusion but she would have to take an oath and consent to cross-examination. She refused.

Kirkeby was released pending a $1,000 bail with several strict conditions including not being within a one-kilometre radius of Ponoka and have no direct or indirect contact with any of the co-accused (excluding Dickson), victim or the other man who lived in the house.

Shewchuk’s bail was set at $1,000 and the Crown consented to her release. Her conditions mirror Kirkeby’s and she is to have no contact with Dickson.

Miller-Laney was dealt with separately and the Crown prosecutor consented to his release because he provided investigators with a plausible explanation to his lack of involvement. He will be back in court on Jan. 2.

Miller-Laney drove the SUV to pick up the victim, on an order from Purdy and said he was promised there would be no violence and was arrested after the ESSO incident during a warranted search of Shewchuk’s house where she was also arrested.

He was released on a no cash bail set at $2,500 with similar conditions to the two women involved.

 

Just Posted

Wolf Creek Schools raises Treaty 6 flag for first time

Chiefs, school officials took part in a ceremony that is aimed at acknowledging Treaty 6 land

Pair arrested in Ponoka with several weapons, face 98 charges

Two men nabbed after early morning suspicious vehicle reported, stolen weapons found

UPDATE: 18-year-old Rimbey teen dies in collision

A portion of Highway 53 west of Rimbey is down to one lane while crews investigate

Ponoka County approves $70,000 to dredge Parkland Beach

Parkland Beach to see some dredging support from Ponoka County

Ponoka sets bylaw on cannabis retail, pushes for quick public consumption regulation

Town passes first reading on retail outlet bylaw, questions staff on need to separate public usage

U.S. congressman issues dire warning to Canada’s NAFTA team: time is running out

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to resume talks with the U.S.

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only nine of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Tilray Inc sees $10-billion in market cap go up in smoke

Tilray’s share price closed at $123 US on Friday, a decline from its intraday peak of nearly $300 US earlier in the week

Canada to boost support for riskier forms of renewable energy: minister

A $30-million contribution to a $117-million tidal project hopes to harness the immense power of the Bay of Fundy

WATCH: Grey Cup was in Red Deer to support military families

Money raised will go towards the Military Family Resource Centre

Most Read