Shooting was accidental: Stanley's son testifies

By Taylor MacPherson
January 31, 2018 - 1:09pm

Gerald Stanley's 28-year-old son Sheldon Stanley says his father initially pulled out his gun as a scare tactic, but accidentally fired it the afternoon Colten Boushie died. 

According to Sheldon, Gerald Stanley claimed the shooting was accidental. The handgun his father used to shoot Boushie "just went off," he testified. Stanley has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder. His high-profile trial by jury began Monday at Battleford's Court of Queen's Bench.

Sheldon, the Crown's first eyewitness to give evidence at the trial, said he was staying at his parents' farm and was helping his father build a corral when they heard a noisy vehicle approaching on the road. The grey Ford Escape pulled into their yard and stopped next to a truck, he testified, but neither man gave it much thought because Gerald Stanley supplimented his farming income with mechanical work. When a passenger got out of the SUV and into a client's truck, Sheldon said he assumed the owner had stopped by to retreive something.

Sheldon said he first realized something was wrong when the SUV pulled up next to a quad and another passenger jumped out.

"As soon as we heard the quad start, I started running," he said. "I could see somebody on the quad, trying to get it to move."

Sheldon said he and his father ran up to the SUV, and he pulled a hammer from his tool belt.

"I took a framing hammer and back-handed the windshield... I was mad," Sheldon said. "I could see my dad kicking the tail light as it pulled away."

As the SUV was driving out of the yard, Sheldon said the driver made a "deliberate right turn" and struck his mother's vehicle. Intending to give chase, he said he ran into the house to grab his car keys.

"As I got up the stairs onto the deck I could hear a gunshot behind me ... As I went into the house I could hear a second shot," he said.

When he came out of the house, Sheldon said, he saw his father approaching the SUV and heard the third and final gunshot. Gerald was standing next to the driver's door holding a handgun and magazine, Sheldon said.

According to Sheldon, Gerald Stanley told him: "It just went off. I just wanted to scare them ... I bumped them, and it just went off."

Sheldon said he saw two unknown males standing between the Stanley house and their garage, but they both quickly jogged away down the driveway. He said his mother, who was mowing the grass at the time of the shooting, approached the SUV and looked inside.

"She turned to me and said, 'call 911,'" Sheldon said.

Sheldon said he called 911 and then checked on his father, who was "pacing back and forth in the shop." When he emerged, Sheldon testified, he noticed two female passengers had pulled the deceased driver, later identified as Colten Boushie, out of the SUV's driver door, along with a .22-calibre rifle that was missing a stock. 

"That's when the two girls attacked my mom," he said. "They had her on the ground and were hitting her."

Sheldon said he ran back toward the SUV and yelled for the girls to leave his mother and get back inside their vehicle, which they did. The girls got back out again soon after, he added, and played with the .22 briefly, pointing it at each other and saying "bang, bang," before walking away down the driveway, Sheldon said.

After confirming the RCMP were on their way to the farm, Sheldon said his family gathered around the dining room table and drank coffee in silence while waiting for the police to arrive. When the police arrived, he said, the entire family was placed under arrest.

This morning the jury also heard from Const. Andrew Park, of the Biggar RCMP. Park said he was tasked with investigating an incident at a farm owned by the Fouhy family, located roughly 15km from Stanley's property. The owners had reported "a grey SUV with a flat tire ... possibly trying to break into Mr. Fouhy's truck," Park said.

Park said he found damage to the truck, which was possibly caused by a broken wooden rifle stock located nearby. Although no charges were laid in connection with the incident at the Fouhy farm, and no tests were done to see if the stock matched the .22 found with Boushie, Park said he belived the rifle and stock matched.

Cross-examination of Sheldon is expected to continue this afternoon. Six Crown witnesses are still expected to give evidence, including both female passengers of the SUV, who Park identified as Kiora Wuttunee and Belinda Jackson.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Commenting on this story is closed now that the matter is before court. 

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