POLITICS

Family of slain bylaw officer feeling 'pain, anger and despair' on eve of verdict

12/10/2014 05:42 EST | Updated 02/09/2015 05:59 EST
CALGARY - Relatives of a slain Alberta bylaw officer say they are feeling pain, anger and despair on the eve of a verdict in the trial of the dog breeder accused of killing him.

Trevor Kloschinsky, 49, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2012 death of Rod Lazenby, a retired RCMP officer who was responsible for enforcing bylaws in the Municipal District of Foothills near Calgary.

Lazenby, 62, died after going to Kloschinsky's property near Priddis on Aug. 10, 2012, to investigate an animal complaint.

Doctors testified this week that Kloschinsky was "actively psychotic" and his lawyer argued her client was not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder. Justice Beth Hughes is expected to deliver her verdict Thursday morning.

Lazenby's family sat quietly in the courtroom for the duration of the three-day trial, but broke their silence outside after final arguments were done Wednesday.

"We have tried to find the right words to describe how Rod's murder has impacted our lives," said his sister Robyn Halbert, who dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. "But there are really no adequate words to describe the pain, anger and despair that we are feeling."

Kloschinsky eked out a living selling blue heeler dogs he raised on his property. Court heard how he thought Lazenby was corrupt and trying to steal his animals.

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.

Kloschinsk admitted causing Lazenby's death. He acknowledged dropping the officer off, handcuffed and unconscious, at a southeast Calgary police station, where he told officers he had apprehended a "dog thief."

"Sometimes the feeling of despair has become oppressive and overwhelming," said Halbert. "The trial has answered some of our questions and given us more questions. We continue to hope that justice will be served but we all know it will not relieve our pain."

In her final arguments, defence lawyer Maggie O’Shaughnessy said there was ample evidence to prove her client wasn't criminally responsible for Lazenby's death.

Two psychiatrists testified Kloschinsky probably didn't realize he was doing anything wrong.

"The Crown has not refuted the evidence of the experts," O'Shaughnessy said.

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.

It's been a difficult time for his family.

"We have so many fond and very proud memories of Rod, his sense of humour, the stories he would tell, his devotion to his work and the love of his family," Halbert said.

"The reality is that Rod is gone. He did not deserve to be taken from us so cruelly."

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