Woodstock Provincial Court: trial begins for kidnapping and shooting death; Debec man sentenced to seven and a half years

by | Dec 6, 2023

Butler on trial for kidnapping, shooting death of former partner

Rodney Butler, 49, of Bulls Creek, will appear for trial in provincial court this week on charges related to an alleged kidnapping and the shooting death of his former partner.

Butler’s trial will be held from Dec. 6-8 and Jan. 11, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. A pre-trial conference was held on Dec. 4, resulting in the first day of the trial being adjourned to Wednesday. Associate Chief Judge Brian C. McLean is presiding over the proceedings.

RCMP charged Butler with reckless discharge of a firearm, indictable assault, uttering threats, using a handgun to kidnap Chris Demerchant, unlawful confinement, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace, possession of a firearm without a licence, and illegal possession of a firearm in a vehicle, following an incident on Nov. 13, 2021, at Bulls Creek. 

On that date, RCMP officers were called to the scene of a fatal shooting on Route 165 at Bulls Creek. Christine Pelletier-Thibodeau, 35, died as a result of her injuries. Over the next several days, police tape was erected around the property, including a residence surrounded by a vehicle salvage yard.

Timothy Grant, 30, of Canterbury, appeared in provincial court on Sept. 6 for the start of his two-day trial on charges related to the same alleged kidnapping of a Scotts Siding man. 

After hearing submissions from both the crown and defence counsel, Judge McLean adjourned Grant’s trial until Feb. 29 and March 1, 2024.

Crown Prosecutor Gwynne Hearn and Defence Counsel Michael Mallory made a joint recommendation to have Grant’s trial adjourned to a later date due to an additional disclosure of evidence. Hearn told the court the information was currently in the hands of the police and would be reviewed by the crown before trial.

Grant pleaded not guilty to three charges concerning an incident on Nov. 13, 2021, in Scott Siding. RCMP charged him with using a handgun to kidnap Chris Demerchant, unlawful confinement, and indictable assault. 

The rescheduling of Grant’s trial delayed those proceedings until after Butler’s trial. Butler sat in the back of the courtroom during Grant’s court appearance on Sept. 6.

Michaud sentenced to over seven years in prison

Walter Patrick (Ricky) Michaud, 43, of Debec, was sentenced on Dec. 4 to a total of seven and a half years in federal prison for drug trafficking and 17 other offences.

Michaud appeared in provincial court in custody by video for his sentencing hearing before Associate Chief Judge Brian C. McLean. 

The judge handed him four and a half years in prison for drug trafficking and another three years behind bars on the remaining charges, minus time served. Michaud had been in custody since September 2022. 

He was also ordered to register with the federal DNA database. A three-year driving prohibition and a 10-year ban on firearms were also imposed. He must also pay $9,138 in restitution for a stolen truck. Michaud had a prior criminal record, including one conviction for drug possession in 2016.

Michaud was described to the court as a street to mid-level trafficker. During one arrest, he was found in possession of a significant quantity of crystal methamphetamine in pre-packed bags, along with meth pills, $3,605 in cash and two cell phones. 

Michaud was charged by RCMP with possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking following an incident around midnight on March 11, 2022, in Teeds Mills. He was also charged with possession of stolen property (a 2013 Hyundai Elantra) as a result of the same incident. He pleaded not guilty, and the matter went to trial in June. He was found guilty after trial on Sept. 26.

Michaud appeared in provincial court in custody for trial on Aug. 30 and changed his plea to guilty on all other remaining charges laid against him by RCMP. 

He was denied bail and remanded to jail on nine charges stemming from the day of his arrest on Sept. 27, 2022, at Bull’s Creek, including possession of a firearm without a licence (a Ruger 10/22 rifle), being an occupant of a vehicle knowing it carried a loaded gun, improper transport of a firearm, possession of a firearm dangerous to the public peace, flight from police, dangerous driving, assaulting a police officer while threatening to use a weapon (a vehicle), possession of stolen property (a Dodge Ram truck), and resisting arrest. 

He was also charged with assaulting a police officer with a weapon (a vehicle), flight from police, and dangerous driving on Sept. 18, 2022, in Meductic, and pleaded guilty.

Michaud also appeared in provincial court in custody on July 21 for a verdict following two other trials. He was found guilty of flight from police, dangerous driving, and possession of stolen property (a Ford 150 half-ton) for an incident on Sept. 16, 2022, in Woodstock. The charges related to a police chase in Woodstock.  

More charges included assaulting a police officer while threatening to use a weapon (a bush saw) and resisting arrest on Sept. 6, 2022, in Debec. Michaud was found guilty on both counts. 

Michaud also faced charges of assaulting a woman in Debec on Aug. 27, 2022. He was found not guilty of the assault on June 29 after the alleged victim failed to appear to testify at the trial. 

Arrested and released with conditions

Ronald Terry Bowmaster, 36, of Bairdsville, appeared in provincial court in custody for a bail hearing on Dec. 1. He was released with conditions, including wearing an electronic monitoring device attached to his ankle. 

Bowmaster was charged by RCMP with breach of probation, failing to comply with the conditions of a peace bond and unlawful entry at a dwelling house concerning an incident on Nov. 30 near Juniper. He returns to court for plea on Dec. 19 at 9:30 a.m.

Preliminary hearing set in drug trafficking case

Two women from Grand Falls appeared in provincial court on Dec. 5 to answer multiple counts of drug trafficking.

Lori Guest and Amber Gaunce are each charged by RCMP with possession of cocaine, methamphetamine, nabilone, clonazepam, and magic mushrooms, all for the purpose of trafficking in connection with an incident on March 2 in Grand Falls.  

They elected trial by judge alone at the Court of King’s Bench. Their preliminary hearing was set for April 25, 2024, at 1:30 p.m. and April 26, 2024, at 9:30 a.m.

Remanded after bail hearing

Braeden Paul Thornton, 28, of Hartland, appeared in provincial court in custody for a bail hearing on Dec. 1. He was remanded to jail and returns to court on Jan. 16, 2024, at 11 a.m. for monitoring about his trial.

Woodstock Police charged Thornton with assault by choking involving a female victim and breach of probation concerning an incident on Nov. 29 in Woodstock. He pleaded not guilty, and a trial date was set for Feb. 8, 2024, at 1:30 p.m.

Arrested and held in custody

Joshua Adam Demerchant, 34, of Pembroke, appeared in provincial court in custody on Dec. 5. He was remanded to jail to await a bail hearing on Dec. 7 at 9:30 a.m.

Demerchant was arrested on a warrant after he failed to appear in provincial court on Oct. 17 for plea. RCMP charged him with possessing stolen property (an ATV) and failing to stop for police in connection with an incident on July 12 near Hartland.  

On Dec. 5, Demerchant was also charged with two counts of breaching a release order stemming from incidents on Oct. 18 at Pembroke and on Dec. 4 in Woodstock.

Guilty pleas entered on two charges

Shane Lee Dickison, 35, of Woodstock, appeared in provincial court on Dec. 5 and changed his plea to guilty to two charges laid by Woodstock Police. He returns to court for sentencing on March 5, 2024, at 1:30 p.m.

He was charged with two violations of an Emergency Intervention Order for incidents on June 18-19 when he went to a local residence while ordered to stay away. 

Dickison appeared in provincial court in custody by video on July 17 after being arrested on a warrant. He was arrested after he failed to appear in provincial court to answer the charges on July 11. He was later released with conditions.

Sentencing set on several charges

Brittany Francis, 34, of Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), appeared in provincial court in custody by video on Dec. 5 and pleaded guilty to several charges laid by RCMP. She returns to court in custody for sentencing on Jan. 12, 2024, at 1:30 p.m.

Francis pleaded guilty to breach of a release order and mischief causing damage to an ankle bracelet in connection with an incident on Sept. 20 at Neqotkuk; guilty to resisting arrest and committing mischief causing property damage in connection with a break-in at a church in Arthurette on March 25; guilty to three counts of breaching a release order on July 17, July 10 and June 21 at Neqotkuk; guilty to shoplifting at the Maliseet Gas Bar in Neqotkuk on June 30, 2022; and guilty to failing to appear in court on Oct. 11. Several other charges were withdrawn by the crown.

Francis appeared in court in custody on Nov. 8 and was denied bail. Multiple warrants were issued for her arrest after she failed to appear in court for sentencing on Sept. 16.

Released with conditions until trial

Cole Wade Gray, 23, of Upper Kintore, appeared in provincial court in custody by video for a bail hearing on Dec. 4. He was released with conditions, including wearing an electronic monitoring device attached to his ankle. 

He was charged with breaching a release order between Nov. 27 and Dec. 1 at Aroostook, failing to appear in court on July 11; assault while threatening to use a weapon (brass knuckles) on Dec. 9, 2022, in Upper Kintore; and assault involving a female victim on June 13at Kintore. He was arrested on a warrant over the weekend.

Cole is scheduled to appear for trial in provincial court on Jan. 18, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. All matters were adjourned to that court date.

Sentencing set on firearm charges

Jennifer Allaby, 31, of Woodstock, appeared in provincial court on Dec. 5 and pleaded guilty to two firearm charges laid by RCMP. Her sentencing date was set for Feb. 27, 2024, at 1:30 p.m.

Allaby pleaded guilty to improper storage of a firearm (a shotgun) and possession of a firearm without a licence for an incident on Feb. 15, 2022, in Grafton. The charges were laid following the execution of a search warrant at a residence during a drug trafficking investigation. The crown withdrew a third firearm charge. 

Suspended sentence, probation for assault

Gunner Gray, 22, of Upper Kintore, received a suspended sentence and 12 months of probation when he appeared in provincial court on Dec. 5 for sentencing on an assault charge. He was also fined $100.

RCMP charged Gray with assault with a weapon (keys) involving another man in connection with an incident on June 11 at Upper Kintore. He pleaded guilty to the lesser included offence of common assault.

Gray was ordered to have no contact with the complainant. The court heard the incident involved a fistfight outside a residence during a “quasi-domestic dispute.”

Awaiting plea on two charges

Gabriel John Tomah, 21, of Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), will appear in provincial court on Jan. 2, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. for plea on two charges laid by RCMP. He was released on an undertaking until his next court date.

Tomah was charged with assault involving a female victim and uttering threats in connection with an incident on Oct. 1 at Neqotkuk. He appeared in court on Dec. 5 when the matter was adjourned to allow him more time to secure legal counsel.

Fined for impaired driving

Cale Ian DeLong, 25, of Woodstock, appeared in provincial court on Dec. 5 and pleaded guilty to impaired driving. He was fined $1,300. A one-year driving prohibition was also imposed.

Woodstock Police charged DeLong concerning an incident on May 15 in Woodstock. Police made their arrest after spotting a vehicle speeding through town. DeLong had no prior criminal record.

In custody awaiting plea

Christian Mario Albert, 37, of Grand Falls, will appear in provincial court on Dec. 11 at 9:30 a.m. for plea on charges laid by RCMP.

Albert was charged with breaking into the Save Easy in Plaster Rock and breaching curfew following an incident on Sept. 10. He appeared in court in custody on Dec. 5 when the matter was adjourned to the new date at the request of his defence counsel. The court heard he was being held in custody on other matters in Edmundston.

More charges for Benton man

Edward Hayes Jr., 27, of Benton, appeared in provincial court on Dec. 5 to answer two charges laid by RCMP. The matter was adjourned for plea until Jan. 9, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. 

Hayes was charged with driving while prohibited and breach of probation for an incident on the Trans Canada Highway near Woodstock on July 1. 

Hayes also appeared in provincial court on Nov. 28 to answer charges laid by Woodstock Police. He returns to court for plea on those matters on Jan. 2, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. He was charged with assaulting another man and breach of probation concerning an incident on June 1 in Woodstock.  

On Oct. 19, he appeared for trial in provincial court after pleading not guilty to other charges of sexual assault and unlawful confinement. The trial was adjourned until July 10, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. at the request of his defence counsel. 

Hayes was charged by RCMP with sexual assault and unlawful confinement involving a female victim between May 18 and June 13, 2022, in Summerfield.

Released with ankle bracelet

Brittany Priscilla King, 27, of Upper Woodstock, appeared in provincial court on Dec. 5 for plea on multiple charges. The matter was adjourned until Jan. 2, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. at the request of her defence counsel.

King was charged with three counts of assault, theft and breaking into a dwelling house for a recent incident in Woodstock. She appeared in provincial court in custody on Nov. 8 for a bail hearing and was released with conditions, including wearing an electronic monitoring device attached to her ankle. 

She is also scheduled to appear for trial in provincial court on March 25, 2024, at 9:30 a.m., and April 3, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. after pleading not guilty to other charges laid by Woodstock Police. A pre-trial conference was also set for Jan. 15, 2024, at 9:30 a.m.

King was charged by Woodstock Police with possession of a stolen vehicle on Nov. 22, 2022, and failing to attend court on Feb. 21. She was also charged with assaulting a police officer, committing mischief, and resisting arrest for another incident on Nov. 7, 2022, in Woodstock. She appeared in court in custody on March 28 and was released with conditions. 

Trial set on assault charge

Jason Albert Williams, 49, of Woodstock, will appear for trial in provincial court on Aug. 2, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. after pleading not guilty to assault. 

Woodstock Police charged Williams with assaulting another man following an incident on April 8 in Woodstock. He appeared in court on Dec. 5 and told the court he did not have legal counsel. The date for his trial was confirmed.

Plea adjourned until January

Catherine Polchies, 46, of Woodstock First Nation, appeared in provincial court on Dec. 5 for plea on charges laid under the Fish and Wildlife Act. The matter was adjourned until Jan. 2, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. 

Polchies appeared in provincial court in custody on Nov. 15 for a bail hearing and was released with conditions. She was charged with discharging a firearm too close to a dwelling house and not wearing hunter orange following an incident on Sept. 27, 2022, at Lower Woodstock. She failed to return to court for plea, and a warrant for her arrest was issued.

Sentencing set for Nackawic man

Allen Edward Wong, 58, of Nackawic, will appear for sentencing in provincial court on Dec. 14 at 1:30 p.m. after changing his plea to guilty on one charge laid by RCMP.

Wong was charged with impaired driving and failing to stop for police in connection with an incident near Woodstock on Sept. 5, 2021. 

He pleaded guilty to the impaired driving charge at a court appearance on Sept. 8. The remaining charge of failing to stop for police will be withdrawn by the crown at sentencing.

Returning for plea on two charges

Douglas Thomas Defazio, 35, of Woodstock, will appear in provincial court on Jan. 9, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. for plea on charges laid by Woodstock Police.

Defazio was charged with assault involving a female victim concerning an incident on Sept. 21 in Woodstock, theft from Atlantic Superstore on Oct. 4, 2022, theft from Kent Building Supplies on Oct. 25, 2022, and breach of an undertaking on Nov. 21.

Charged with assault with utility knife

Gregory Sparks, 23, of no fixed address, appeared in provincial court on Dec. 5 for plea on charges laid by RCMP. The matter was adjourned until Dec. 19 at 9:30 a.m. at the request of his defence counsel.

Sparks was charged with assault with a weapon (a utility knife) involving a female victim and uttering threats concerning an incident on April 20 at Centreville. He also faces a charge of breach of an undertaking by violating a no-contact order.

The court heard Sparks is also facing other charges in Fredericton. 

Neqotkuk man facing multiple charges

Nicholas Paul of Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation) will appear in provincial court on Jan. 11, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. for plea on multiple charges laid by RCMP. He appeared in court on Dec. 5 when the matter was adjourned to the new date. 

Paul appeared in court in custody on Nov. 27 for a bail hearing and was released with conditions. He was arrested on a warrant for failing to appear in court.

He faces charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, breach of probation and possession of a stolen credit card for an incident on Sept. 12 in Hartland; theft from a store in Carlingford on Aug. 30; two counts of dangerous driving, two counts of suspended driving, and two counts of flight from police for incidents on Aug. 8 and Aug. 11 in Perth Andover.

He appeared in provincial court in custody by video on Oct. 4 for a bail hearing. He was released with conditions, including house arrest and wearing an electronic monitoring device attached to his ankle. 

Paul was also charged with flight from police and break, enter and theft at a storage shed following an incident on Sept. 4, 2022, at Perth-Andover. He pleaded not guilty, and a trial date was set for April 26, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. He confirmed he has secured legal counsel for his trial.

Nicholas Paul and Jennifer Paul were each charged by RCMP with theft of a motor vehicle (a 2013 Volkswagon Jetta), possession of stolen property, obstructing police, possession of a firearm without a license, careless use of a gun, and breach of an undertaking following incidents on Dec. 3, 2021, in Grand Falls and Neqotkuk. 

Their not-guilty pleas were entered at a court appearance on March 21, and a trial date was set for Jan. 11, 2024, at 9:30 a.m.

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