Calgary killer pleads guilty in shooting death of friend, Shane Smith
CALGARY -- Six months after he pointed an AR-15 firearm in a ‘joking manner’ at his friend Shane Smith, the man who pulled the trigger pleaded guilty in a Calgary courtroom.
Ian Charles Abercrombie, 24, was charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty Friday to the reduced charged of criminal negligence causing death, which lawyers determined was appropriate charged based on the evidence.
Abercrombie was also convicted of causing an indignity to a body after convincing two roommates to get rid of Smith's remains. The Chestermere man's body still has not been found.
A judge agreed with a joint submission by defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli and Crown prosecutor Michael Ewenson suggesting a total sentence of six-and-a-half years, which includes a five-year sentence for criminal negligence.
“Very sad, very broken … five years. My son’s life, five years,” said Shirley Smith, Shane’s mother outside of court.
“I think it's really important that people know what happened that night. My son would have never done what they did. My son would have dialled 911 immediately."
According to an agreed statement of facts read by Crown prosecutor Michael Ewenson, Smith and some friends had been at a car event on the evening of June 6. They went to one of the friend's homes after to drink.
Ewenson said Abercrombie told everyone to come to the garage because he wanted to show off some firearms.
One witness described seeing the accused point the firearm toward Smith and the gun went off. The gun did not have a magazine in it, but court was told this type of weapon can fire without one provided a round was already in the chamber.
“Immediately the accused yelled out, ‘Oh my god’ and then ‘Shane’ several times and became upset," read the agreed statement of facts.
"The accused then ran to Smith and shook him but there was no response. The accused then turned to the others and told them he didn’t know the gun was loaded."
Abercrombie told those present not to tell anyone what happened. The Crown said he rolled Smith’s body into a carpet then placed it in the trunk of his car. He then told his roommates what happened and they moved Smith’s body into one of their cars.
The Crown said evidence points to Shane’s body being dumped into the Bow River south of Calgary.
“I don’t care if he says it wasn’t intentional,” said Bill Smith, Shane’s father. “He took the gun there, he picked it up, he pointed it, he pulled the trigger. He’s 100 per cent to blame. He may not have put my son in the river but because of what he did, that’s why my son was put in the river.”
Abercrombie apologized over the phone saying he regrets what happened. He could not attend the hearing because of a COVID-19 outbreak at the Calgary Remand Centre.
“It’s too late. He should have done the right thing six months ago and called when it happened,” said Cassandra Smith, Shane’s older sister.
The family said they are thankful to everyone who has helped search for Shane. His father said he will walk the river banks until spring when they can see if they can get back on the water.
“I will never stop searching,” said Bill Smith.
Abercrombie will have five years and nine months left to serve after receiving credit for time already served.
Andrew Bablitz and Andrew Leger-Wagner both face charges including indignity to a human body.
They remain out on bail.