POLITICS

Man admits causing officer's death, but says he is not criminally responsible

12/05/2014 05:28 EST | Updated 02/04/2015 05:59 EST
CALGARY - An Alberta man who admits he caused the death of a bylaw officer told police he thought the 62-year-old former RCMP member was a thief trying to steal his dogs.

Trevor Kloschinsky told investigators that he managed to eke out a meagre living selling the blue heelers he bred on a property just outside of Calgary and Rod Lazenby had jeopardized that.

"He's a dog thief. He's the dog catcher. He's covering everything up," Kloschinsky told an officer in a video shot after his arrest and played in court Monday.

Lazenby, a retired RCMP officer who was responsible for enforcing bylaws in the Municipal District of Foothills, died after going to Kloschinsky's property near Priddis to investigate a dog complaint on Aug. 10, 2012.

Court heard an autopsy found Lazenby was strangled and had 56 abrasions, contusions and lacerations to the face, head, neck, body and back. He also suffered numerous internal injuries.

On the advice of his lawyer, Kloschinsky, who is 49, refused to discuss the day Lazenby was killed with officers. But he told them he felt that Lazenby had a "vendetta" against him. He filed a complaint against Lazenby earlier that year on how the officer had dealt with his missing dogs.

Kloschinsky had 34 dogs when the attack on Lazenby took place. He had been living in an RV inside a Quonset hut on the property and had previously spent time in a Calgary homeless shelter.

"I try to make a living, but it's more of an existence," he told officers. "How do you think I survived the last year?"

In an agreed statement of facts read in court, Kloschinsky admitted causing the death of Lazenby. He acknowledged dropping the officer off, handcuffed and unconscious, at a police station in southeast Calgary.

"Mr. Kloschinsky has a fixed belief that Lazenby suffered a heart attack during the struggle," said Crown prosecutor Jim Sawa.

Kloschinsky is charged with first-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.

His defence lawyer told court she will argue her client is not criminally responsible, but has not elaborated.

Const. Brent Schorn testified Kloschinsky was "very distraught" when he arrived at the police station in Lazenby's vehicle.

Const. Joe Deigner said Kloschinsky was concerned that someone had tried to steal his dogs.

"He approached the counter. He wanted to complain about his dogs being stolen," Deigner testified. "He said he caught the person. He said we better check him — 'he looks rough.'"

"He said: 'I took the matter into my own hands,'" Schorn recalled.

Schorn went out to check the vehicle. Lazenby was in the back seat.

"He appeared unresponsive. He appeared deceased."

The officer was rushed to hospital, but died hours later.

Kloschinsky, wearing glasses, a brown suit and sporting a full beard, was allowed to attend court without handcuffs and sat quietly throughout Monday's proceedings.

Lazenby was an RCMP officer for 35 years and often worked undercover in Vancouver. He once bunked with child killer Clifford Olson and went after dangerous drug dealers on Vancouver’s skid row. Lazenby joined the drug squad after he served as a military policeman.

He had retired in 2006 and moved to High River, Alta., to be closer to his daughter and her children.

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