Skip to content

Hennessey blasts inquiry findings

Barry Hennessey is calling the findings of an inquest into the deaths of four RCMP officers “complete nonsense.” The report was released March 29.

Barry Hennessey is calling the findings of an inquest into the deaths of four RCMP officers “complete nonsense.”

The report was released March 29. In it, Justice Daniel Pahl states he finds there were no failings in the training, experience or abilities of the officers who lost their lives on that fateful day in Mayerthorpe on March 3, 2005. RCMP constables Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon, Lionide Nicholas Johnston, Brock Warren Myrol and Peter Christopher Schiemann were gunned down by known cop-hater James Michael Roszko inside a Quonset on Roszko's property near Mayerthorpe. Roszko then shot and killed himself after being shot by officers at the scene.

The RCMP later arrested Shawn Hennessey and Dennis Cheeseman in connection with the murders. Shawn Hennessey is serving a 15-year sentence, while Cheeseman is serving a 12-year term for their roles in the killings of the four RCMP officers. Hennessey and Cheeseman both pleaded guilty to manslaughter for helping Roszko get back to his property, and for providing him with a rifle and other supplies. The brothers-in-law were sentenced in January 2009.

In his findings, Justice Pahl said he “is satisfied that the RCMP acted appropriately in all circumstances as they then knew them. He said the RCMP was aware of Roszko’s history, but he had for some years been under the radar. Roszko had fled from the bailiffs only a few hours earlier, just as he had done in recent years (with the other) contact he had had with authority. Those who flee do not come back is, within RCMP (and apparently with all police services) a commonly held presumption, which is strongly supported by experience. While a return was always to be considered a possibility, it was not seen as a probability. Nonetheless, appropriate measures were taken to alert the officers involved, adequately arm them and to secure the property in order to maintain continuity of the evidence.”

Pahl finished by stating “this was a uniquely tragic event which could not have reasonably been foreseen or prevented.”

Barry Hennessey called the entire inquiry process a “joke,” and said it was a glorified drama, that it was preorchestrated, and that everyone knew the results before they were even released. He said the entire time, he and his wife, Sandy, were the enemies of the RCMP and the families of the fallen officers.

“Of the 100 people I have talked to since the inquest results were released, only one person agrees with the findings of that report, and that was Mr. Myrol (father of slain RCMP officer Brock Myrol),” Hennessey said. “The media was on our side the entire time, and they thought it was crazy. It’s a shame that our tax dollars went to this. I’m a blue-collar worker, and there are a dozen things I can think of that would have prevented the deaths of the four officers. They could have sent in a SWAT team to secure the area. I can’t believe they think the Mounties never did anything wrong and made all the right decisions.”

Barry Hennessey said his family has full intentions of filing a civil suit, and that through that process, the truth will come out.

“We’re not anywhere near done with this,” he said.

Pahl made several recommendations through his report. He said RCMP detachments should designate a member (as distinct from staff) to fill the role of Threat Assessment Co-ordinator, who would primarily be responsible for the collection and maintenance of master and individual threat assessment files. He also recommended that RCMP consider the establishment of National Policy guidelines for securing of potential crime scenes.