WESTASKIWIN, Alta. – A trial is to begin today for a man charged with attempted murder in the shooting of two Mounties in rural Alberta.
Sawyer Robison was arrested following a standoff on his family’s farm near Killam, southeast of Edmonton, three years ago.
The 30-year-old also faces more than a dozen other charges that include assault causing bodily harm and weapons-related counts.
He had been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his uncle, but that charge was discontinued during a preliminary hearing.
Robison was to originally have a jury trial but recently chose to have his case heard by a judge alone.
The trial is scheduled to run until May 1 in Wetaskiwin, Alta.
The shooting shocked several residents of the area, who said it was hard to believe such a friendly farm family could be at the centre of such trouble. They described Robison as a quiet photographer and musician.
Few details of the shooting have been made public, but RCMP said at the time that a domestic violence assault led four officers to search for an illegal handgun on the Robison farm on Feb. 7, 2012.
Two Mounties walked into a house on the property and shots were fired. Constables Sheldon Shah and Sidney Gaudette were hit but managed to get out of the home and were taken to hospital.
Following a lengthy standoff, police found Robison’s uncle, Brad Clarke, dead inside the building and seized several weapons.
Officers began a search for Robison, who they alleged had been in the home at the time of the shooting and fled in a pickup truck.
RCMP credited an emotional public plea by Robison’s parents with his peaceful arrest three days later on a country road in the same area as his family’s farm.
Shah and Gaudette, whose fathers were both Mounties, had started their careers in the force at the Killam detachment. They spent several months recovering from their wounds and later returned to work.