Blue Line

‘Our family has fallen apart’: Sentencing for man who ran over Saskatchewan Mountie

January 12, 2024  By The Canadian Press

Jan. 12, 2024, Regina, Sask. – Melanie Patton says the loss of her only son, a Saskatchewan Mountie who was run over and killed more than two years ago, has left a void that can’t be filled.

She told a sentencing hearing Thursday that she has lost all joy.

“Nothing is the same. Our family has fallen apart,” she told the judge in her victim impact statement. “Gatherings are small and quiet, and I dread the holidays.”

Alphonse Stanley Traverse pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter and to a charge of stealing a motor vehicle. The Crown is seeking a life sentence and the defence is seeking 16 years.


The judge said he would reserve his sentencing decision for a later date.

Patton, 26, had pulled over a suspected stolen truck in the town of Wolseley, east of Regina, in 2021.

Court heard the officer asked Traverse to step out of the truck and, when Traverse started the vehicle to drive off, Patton stepped on the running board and reached for the keys.

Patton fell when the truck jerked and was run over by a rear tire.

An agreed statement of facts said Traverse had been on warrant status for various offences.

He and a woman decided to drive from Winnipeg to play VLTs in Saskatchewan, as bars in Manitoba were still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When their truck broke down, they stole another near Pipestone, Man.

Traverse and the woman had also been using crystal meth, said the document.

Traverse sat in the prisoner’s box with his head down and at times sniffled.

Loved ones, Mounties and friends who knew Patton delivered victim impact statements.

In her statement, Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of Saskatchewan RCMP, told court she remembers telling Patton’s wife he had been killed.

“She knew something was terribly wrong. However, when I delivered the news Shelby was gone, I watched her entire world collapse,” Blackmore said.

“I’ve done numerous next-of-kin notifications during my 28-year policing career, and they are all difficult and tragic for the family receiving the news that their loved one has passed away. But this was different for me. This was so much more personal. There was a young man who was called out to try and apprehend the individuals responsible for stealing the vehicle, doing exactly what he always did as a professional.”

Prosecutor Adam Breker read a victim impact statement on behalf of Patton’s wife, Mari Grobler.

Grobler wrote that she remains fearful of the sound of vehicles, has had a hard time leaving the house and drifts in and out of depression. She has been unable to restart her personal training business.

“The depression and anxiety of losing Shelby has caused intense chest pains,” she wrote. “I see a psychologist biweekly and I expect that I will have to do so for many years to come.”

Breker told court Traverse should get a life sentence because he drove away and knew he had done something serious.

The prosecutor said the killing of a police officer should result in more serious punishment, as officers have a “broad and fundamental impact” on society.

He told court Traverse, who has a criminal history, previously said he would get help for his addictions but didn’t.

“It is shocking, the multitude of opportunities he has been given,” Breker said.

Defence lawyer Matthew Gould argued that even though what happened was devastating, Traverse didn’t know his actions would result in the Mountie’s death.

“No matter what happened to (Patton), it does not change the accidental nature of what happened.”

Gould said Traverse experienced intergenerational trauma. He was abused at a day school and in a foster home, the lawyer said.

Gould told court that Traverse has a supportive family and he’ll work toward rehabilitation. His family watched the proceedings.

“The family loves him and will stand by him,” Gould said.

Traverse told court he’s sorry for what he did and the loss he has caused. His family wiped tears as he spoke.

“My actions have damaged the lives of so many. I understand the people affected may never be able to forgive me. I don’t expect them to. I’m truly sorry,” he said. “I can never forgive myself but maybe one day God will.”

Melanie Patton told reporters after the hearing Traverse’s apologies have not helped. “It’s crocodile tears. I’m not going to fall for that,” she said.

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