The family of Jeffery Kraft of Ponoka say they feel robbed after one of the accused in his death was discharged following the preliminary inquiry.
Amie Joanne Rogers, 22, had been charged with second-degree murder, robbery with a firearm and conspiring to commit an offence.
She was discharged by Crown Prosecuter Ed Ring as there was insufficient evidence to commit her to trial, according to the Provincial Justice and Solicitor General media relations department.
The co-accused, Tyler John Campbell, 28, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Red Deer Provincial Court on Nov. 16, 2020 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter with a firearm.
Campbell is due back in court on Jan. 29 for sentencing.
“We the family of Jeff feel like we have been robbed,” said Caitlin Kraft, Jeff’s sister.
At the preliminary hearing, the Agreed Statement of Facts was presented.
The statement is the facts as agreed upon between the accused and the prosecution for the purpose of dispensing with formal proof.
According to the statement, on the evening of Dec. 14, 2019, Jeffery Kraft and an acquaintance were socializing at a residence in Lacombe. At about 1:30 a.m. Dec. 15, the two left the residence for the purpose of consuming cannabis.
They drove to a restaurant at 5954 Highway Street in Lacombe. Kraft and the acquaintance were parked in the parking lot and met Rogers there.
Rogers was in the driver’s seat of a black 2014 Audi S4 and Campbell was in the trunk of the Audi in possession of a loaded 12-gauge shotgun.
Kraft got into the front passenger seat of the Audi and the acquaintance got into the rear passenger side of the Audi. Rogers drove a short distance to a rural road in Lacombe.
Rogers told the two males in the car that she wanted to retrieve her bong and pulled over and exited the vehicle.
She then went to the trunk and opened it. Campbell got out of the trunk with the shotgun and walked to the passenger side of the vehicle.
He was pointing the shotgun at the passenger side of the vehicle and opened the front passenger door and yelled “Who is Jeff?”
Kraft then identified himself and Campbell yelled “You owe me money!”
Kraft answered “I’ll pay you.”
The shotgun was discharged, striking Kraft in the upper right chest from point blank range and he immediately fell out of the vehicle onto the ground.
Rogers said “We have to get him to the hospital” and Campbell said “It’s not supposed to be this way.”
Campbell and the other male placed Kraft back into the vehicle and Campbell drove them all to the Lacombe hospital.
At the hospital, Kraft’s acquaintance ran inside to get assistance. When he returned, Campbell, Rogers and the Audi were gone and Kraft was lying in the parking lot.
Medical assistance was rendered, however, Kraft died shortly after. The cause of death was the single shotgun injury to his chest.
Campbell and Rogers were arrested by police in Sylvan Lake at about 9 a.m. on Dec. 15, 2019.
“There has been no justice. The one who set up his death has been let off scott free on all charges,” said Caitlin.
“Our justice system is flawed. The soft on crime approach isn’t working.
“We need to revamp our justice system to hold criminals accountable for their crimes. All too often we see violent criminals being let off with lenient sentences and the victims and families are left picking up the pieces.”
Note: Discharged is a legal term. It is not the same as having charges stayed or withdrawn. At a preliminary enquiry an individual can either be committed to stand trial or discharged.