Chief Robert Keetch hosted a press conference at the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Headquarters this evening and made the following comments regarding todays resolution of the Hallam homicide court proceedings.
Earlier today, charges against Ronald MITCHELL, Dylan JOCKO and Eric MEAROW, the accused parties involved in the gruesome murder of Wesley HALLAM, were presented before the courts. They plead guilty to manslaughter and offering an indignity to a human body. The proceedings brought concluding judgements to one of the most horrific crimes ever committed within this community.
First, I want to extend condolences to the Hallam family on behalf of the members of the Police Service. I can’t even imagine the mental pain and suffering you have endured throughout this process. Nobody should lose a loved one under such circumstances. The manner in which Wesley’s life ended, and the indignities he suffered, was disturbing to us all, to say the least.
Now that this matter is concluded, I hope that you (Sandra) and your family can finally have some peace, heal, and somehow find a way put this horrendous crime behind you. We will continue to support you as long as you need us.
Next, I would like to convey that we, as a Police Service, are as disappointed with today’s outcome as is the Hallam family.
To the people of Sault Ste. Marie, I wish to stress that we take our responsibility for community safety & well-being, and our role in investigating crimes that occur within this community very seriously. The results of this case in no way reflect the work done by Police.
The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police; who jointly investigated the Hallam homicide, committed significant resources (both manpower and financial) to conduct a thorough and competent investigation. Approximately 200 officers were involved, over 200 witnesses were interviewed, and a crown brief in excess of 90,000 pages was compiled; all to support First-Degree murder charges. I would like to publically recognize the tremendous work which was conducted by all (officers and civilians) assigned to this case. Your compassion, commitment and dedication have not gone unnoticed and are not properly reflected in a conviction for manslaughter. To all the witnesses who had the courage to come forward, provide testimony and participate in the judicial proceedings, thank you. I know this has taken courage and been a difficult process for you.
Throughout the entire investigation, preliminary inquiry and pre-trial motions, members of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and our Local Crown Attorney’s Office maintained a well-established, effective and valued relationship which was based on mutual respect and a shared responsibility for a thorough investigation and prosecution in the Hallam murder. The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service was committed to the upcoming trial of all three accused, and prepared to dedicate significant resources to support it.
However, once a criminal charge is laid and the matter is before the courts, it becomes the responsibility of the Ministry of the Attorney General. We were not aware of any discussions regarding a proposed resolution or a reduction of charges for the Hallam homicide, nor did we have any input.
Again, today brought a conclusion to one of the most sensational and horrific cases in Sault Ste. Marie’s history, and regrettably, a disappointing one. Any questions regarding the convictions should be directed to representatives of the Ministry of the Attorney General.