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Man convicted in Mayerthorpe Mountie deaths opts not to apply for early parole

An aerial view of the scene where four RCMP officers were killed by James Roszko is shown in this evidence photo released at the Mayerthorpe inquiry Thursday, January 13, 2011.


One of two men convicted in the deaths of four Alberta Mounties has decided not to apply for early parole.

A hearing for Dennis Cheeseman before the National Parole Board was scheduled for next month, but board spokeswoman Michelle Goring said Friday that he has requested the review be cancelled.

Cheeseman and his brother-in-law, Shawn Hennessey, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for giving gunman James Roszko a rifle and a ride the night before he ambushed the officers near Mayerthorpe in 2005.

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Constables Peter Schiemann, Anthony Gordon, Brock Myrol and Leo Johnston were killed.

The officers had been guarding a Quonset hut on Roszko's farm as part of a marijuana grow-op and automobile chop-shop investigation. Roszko killed himself after he was shot and wounded by another Mountie.

Cheeseman pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to seven years and two months in prison. He was turned down for parole in 2011.

Hennessey was sentenced to 10 years and four months and applied for early parole last year, but was denied.

The board didn't provide a reason why Cheeseman cancelled the hearing, but said he is scheduled to leave prison anyway later this year. He will get what is called statutory release on Nov. 19 after completing two-thirds of his sentence.

Hennessey is to get statutory release in 2015.

Gordon's mother, Doreen Jewell-Duffy, said she planned on attending Cheeseman's upcoming parole hearing so she could convince the board not to let him out.

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She said she's disappointed that she may not get another chance to face him and doesn't think it's fair he should get statutory release.

"Stay and serve what the court gave him," she said. "He helped kill four police officers."

Colleen Myrol said she wasn't going to attend Cheeseman's hearing. She just wants the entire parole process over with because it constantly reminds her of her son's death.

"I really just want him to get on with his life, 'cause every time – if he goes to a doctor's appointment or anything – they let us know.

"You can be having a pretty good week and then you get that call ... It's just not a normal way to live."

Myrol said she can't change the parole rules and will be somewhat relieved when Cheeseman is freed in November.

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"I just think it's been a long, long time. And I just think we'll be glad when it's done and he can move on to hopefully being a better citizen."

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