Widow offered bullet casings

The widow of a Mi’kmaq man gunned down in his home by an RCMP constable says police offered to let her keep three shell casings from the gun that killed her husband.

By James Hopkin
APTN National News
WAGMATCOOK, Nova Scotia
— The widow of a Mi’kmaq man gunned down in his home by an RCMP constable says police offered to let her keep three shell casings from the gun that killed her husband.

Patsy MacKay said she was asked if she wanted to keep any of the evidence from the scene, including the 9 mm casings, three months after John Simon was shot in his Wagmatcook First Nations home on Dec. 2, 2008.

“Those three bullets that killed John, I get to keep them, the shell casings. What a slap in the face,” said McKay, in an interview with APTN National News.

Simon, who was holding a rifle, was shot three times by RCMP Const. Jeremy Frenette after the officer entered the house through an open window despite orders to “sit tight” until help arrived. Frenette had noticed Simon sitting on the toilet smoking a cigarette. Frenette hoped to catch Simon by surprise as he left the bathroom.

“Const. Frenette in the absence of authorization decided to act alone on this opportunity to catch John Simon unaware as he exited the washroom,” said the report on the incident by Halifax Regional Police Superintendent Michael Burns.

The Burns report, obtained by APTN National News, also claimed MacKay was drinking with Simon the day he was shot.

MacKay says she doesn’t drink and that the report smeared her and her dead husband to whitewash Frenette’s actions that night.

“It was perfectly planned,” said MacKay. “I believe everything was planned months, if not weeks, after John died.”

A legal analysis commissioned by the Wagmatcook band found the Burns report to be peppered with “errors, omissions” and the misuse of facts to back predetermined conclusions.

The analysis, by Truro-based lawyer Gary Richard, zeroed-in on the order given Frenette to “sit tight” until the emergency response team arrived. Frenette ended up inside the house, shooting the 44-year-old Mi’kmaq man three times.

Richard’s analysis also raised the possibility Frenette may have been in Simon’s home illegally.

The RCMP investigated the incident hand-in-hand with Halifax police.

“(Burns) picked and choosed whatever he wanted to make Frenette look good and John look bad,” said MacKay.

The Burns report cleared Frenette of any criminal wrongdoing.

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Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.