Only days after selecting a jury, Manitoba justice officials have mysteriously walked away from a murder case just as it was set to begin.
William Ross was expected to go on trial next week for second-degree murder. But he appeared in court Wednesday, where representatives of the Crown announced they would not be proceeding. A stay was entered, which does give them the ability to re-lay the charge within one year.
Queen’s Bench Justice Brenda Keyser expressed surprise at the move and questioned why it was being made so late in the process. The Crown did not provide details, simply saying, "It’s one of those things."
The case against Ross involved the May 2006 slaying of Sheldon McKay, a two-time convicted killer who was a prominent member of the Indian Posse. Staff discovered McKay, 30, dead in his cell after he failed to show up for a planned visit with his girlfriend and two children. An autopsy found he was asphyxiated.
Four co-accused have already been convicted and sentenced.
Raymond Joseph Armstrong, 39, and Adrian Claude Young, 31, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were given 12-year terms.
A jury found Raymond Chartrand, 30, guilty of second-degree murder, leading to him receiving a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 15 years. Jeffrey Bruyere, 44, admitted to manslaughter and is awaiting sentence.
Bruyere provided key testimony at Chartrand's trial, telling jurors he stood guard and watched as the deadly beating occurred. He said an internal decision was made to kill McKay because of increasing concerns about his ability to run the gang.