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A look back on the decades most prolific crimes

As time winds down on the first decade of the 21st century the Gazette looks back on the stories from the crime desk that grabbed headlines, shocked residents and in a few cases, shot the city into the broader spotlight of the nation.

As time winds down on the first decade of the 21st century the Gazette looks back on the stories from the crime desk that grabbed headlines, shocked residents and in a few cases, shot the city into the broader spotlight of the nation.

Bank robber found dead

On Jan. 11, 2001 Morinville RCMP found a dead man who had been beaten and stabbed. His remains were recovered from a frozen creek in the eastern half of Sturgeon County.

After a lengthy period where the identity of the man remained a mystery, police eventually learned he was Kenneth Lloyd Pendleton, a career bank robber from the United States.

Pendleton had a reputation for elaborate robberies and daring escapes from American prisons, including one that saw him swim through the frigid waters in Puget Sound.

In time police learned the 59-year-old American fugitive had been living in the Calder area of Edmonton, setting up a marijuana grow-up with several other men.

Police questioned all of the men Pendleton was working with, but never managed to lay charges. His case remains unsolved.

Kelly Dawn Riley

It is has been rare for this community to see any homicides and when the badly beaten body of Kelly Dawn Riley was discovered two weeks after Pendleton's, the community was stunned.

Riley lived a high-risk lifestyle, was known to abuse drugs and worked in Edmonton's sex trade.

She had been missing for over a week when her body was found near two gravel piles on Range Road 264, just off Highway 633.

Her case briefly fell into the purview of Project KARE, a provincial task force designed to look into the deaths of sex trade workers and other people living high-risk lifestyles, but ultimately the unit passed the case back to the RCMP's serious crime unit. Her case also remains unsolved.

Apartment shooting

Later that year, St. Albert RCMP found themselves investigating a murder. On April 2, Robin Abialmouna's father found him in his Perron Street apartment shortly after 10:15 p.m. The young man had been shot to death.

Police believe the 22-year-old man was associated with gangs and was shot dead as part of an ongoing war, a suggestion his family disputes.

He had outstanding charges against him at the time for assault with a weapon and was linked to an incident where a man brought a loaded handgun into the Edmonton Courthouse.

At the time, investigators said the case had been difficult because Abialmouna's friends and associates were uncooperative with police.

Out of control party

It was in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2004 that an out of control house party in Sturgeon County lead to the stabbing death of High Level teen Kane Vervoot.

The young man was stabbed by Andrew Mair, a local teen and former Bellerose Composite High School student, who got into an altercation with Vervoot.

Throughout the trial the public was unaware of the identity of Mair because he had turned 18 on the day of the crime, which meant he was considered a young offender.

Mair's lawyer argued he had killed Vervoot in self-defence, but a jury found him guilty of manslaughter. The sentencing judge decided on an adult sentence and sentenced him to five-and-half years in prison.

He was granted full parole on the charges in May 2008.

Matthew Hoover

The death of a local teen in an apparent high-speed chase also caught the community's attention, especially when another shooting happened three days later.

On Aug. 7, 2004 Matthew Hoover was behind the wheel of his truck, weaving in and out of traffic, racing to get away from an SUV that was following him closely down 170 Street just south of Levasseur Road.

Someone in the SUV opened fire on Hoover's blue Chevy pick-up truck, hitting the 21-year-old St. Albert resident several times.

Hoover was taken to Sturgeon Community Hospital in the back of the truck and rushed into the emergency room, but he ultimately passed away two weeks later.

Police arrested Billy James Jardine, the driver of the SUV and charged him with attempted murder. The charges were upgraded when Hoover died.

The case came before a judge 18 months later and Jardine pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to murder for helping the unknown shooter leave the scene.

The Crown said there was simply no evidence Jardine fired any of the shots or that he was aware the passenger with him was going to open fire on the car.

Jardine served 18 months in jail and has never revealed who fired the gun that killed Hoover. The case remains open and unsolved.

A shooting at the Hebert Road Tim Hortons on Aug. 10 was believed to be in retaliation to Hoover's shooting. Four shots were fired at a silver Grand Prix sitting in the parking lot with three people inside.

The shooter emerged from a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee that pulled into the parking lot.

Miraculously no one was injured in that attack, as three of the bullets ripped into the car and a fourth went through the coffee shop's window.

Police later charged Tony Ngoc Tran and Gavin Ian Turner with attempted murder. It was later revealed the three people in the Grand Prix were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

At the pair's preliminary inquiry, two witnesses who were also in the Cherokee said they didn't recognize the pair and the Crown was forced to withdraw the case.

Realtor murdered

When local realtor William Maloney was found stabbed to death in his own kitchen in 2006, the community was stunned.

Police quickly identified a suspect in the case and a few days later Lisa McKay turned herself in to police.

The sentencing hearing revealed very little about McKay and Maloney's relationship, but through McKay's parole hearings it was ultimately revealed the two shared an addiction to crack cocaine.

Maloney first met the woman when she was just 17, working on Edmonton's streets as a prostitute.

McKay ultimately pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to six years and five months. At her most recent parole hearing she was denied day parole.

Nationwide manhunt

Emrah Bulatci's connection to the city was short and tenuous, but when the terrible crime he committed happened, he drew media attention from across the country.

Bulatci was found guilty earlier this year of the death of Const. Chris Worden, an RCMP officer working in the tiny community of Hay River, N.W.T.

Worden was killed in October 2007 after Bulatci shot him four times while trying to flee from the officer.

At the beginning of his trial, Bulatci attempted to plead guilty to manslaughter, claiming he initially fired two shots at Worden to try and slow him down after a foot chase ensued.

Bulatci claimed the two subsequent shots he fired that ultimately killed Worden were not fired intentionally.

The Crown rejected the plea and called dozens of witnesses over a long trial, ultimately leading to a first-degree murder conviction and mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

A nationwide manhunt for Bulatci ensued following the Hay River shooting. He was identified quickly as a suspect and charges were laid against him within a day. Officers raided an Akinsdale home where they located Bulatci's SUV. They eventually found Bulatci himself in a west Edmonton home six days later.

Months prior to the shooting in March 2007 St. Albert RCMP arrested Bulatci and charged him with breaching his bail conditions and obstructing a police officer, following a traffic stop where he lied to police about his name.

On Tuesday Dec. 22, Bulatci's lawyer filed on appeal of his conviction on his behalf.




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