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Update: No shotgun ammo found at scene of armed stand-off

Monday, March 22nd, 2010 | 5:13 pm

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Update: 10/03/22/ 5:13 p.m.

By Joe Fries

Some holes began emerging this afternoon in the story offered by a woman who said Ronald MacPherson pointed a shotgun at her at the beginning of a seven-hour stand-off with police last summer in Peachland.

Denise Robillard testified MacPherson entered her bedroom “like Rambo,” cocked the gun with one hand, then levelled it at her head as she sat on her bed putting on a pair of boots. She said a struggle for the gun ensued, before he retreated to the living room, where she watched him load the weapon.

But in her first statement to police on June 23, 2009, the day after the incident, Robillard never said anything about MacPherson cocking the gun or aiming it at her head. Instead she said she didn’t think the weapon was loaded.

The details to which she testified today emerged for the first time in a second statement she gave to police in November, 2009, after the Crown counsellor handling the case noticed her story had changed.

Under cross-examination from defence counsel Stan Tessmer, Robillard said she was thinking more clearly the second time around. She said her statement changed “because for some reason I didn’t want to commit to him literally pointing (the gun) at me.”


“I was protecting myself from embarrassment, knowing that it was something my family was going to hear,” Robillard explained.

Court also heard this afternoon from RCMP Cpl. Amanda Jones, the ranking officer among the four cops who first showed up to the house in Peachland.

Jones said her team had staked out positions in the bushes around the house, when she saw Robillard exit the residence. The woman was “very anxious” and told Jones that MacPherson had pointed a weapon at her.

The corporal recounted how a negotiator was able to arrange MacPherson’s eventual surrender around 5 a.m. on June 23. Jones said she went into the house afterwards and found a dismantled shotgun placed across a washer and dryer. Notably, cops didn’t find any shotgun ammunition.

Although that would seem to contradict Robillard’s testimony that she watched MacPherson load his shotgun, Jones admitted that the search wasn’t exhaustive.

“We didn’t tear the house apart; we did move things around,” the 18-year veteran said.

And while the spare room in the house contained another type of ammunition as well as bullet-making equipment, “I know we didn’t search every crevice, every hole in the house,” Jones said.

Robillard sat with her back to MacPherson in the witness dock and became upset as Tessmer suggested that she contrived the story because she was mad at MacPherson over his plan to drive her to a funeral in Alberta, then return alone in her car, which he could use to visit girlfriends.

Tessmer also pointed out that although she said MacPherson punched her on the chin, the officer who interviewed her never noticed any bruising or marks there. He suggested that Robillard instigated the row by kicking his client, then throwing two TV remotes at him, prompting him to get his gun, because she was mad at him and his freeloading ways.

The trial continues Tuesday.


Posted: 10/03/22/ 2:22 p.m.

By Joe Fries

An armed stand-off with police last summer in Peachland that stopped highway traffic was triggered by a man’s refusal to leave the home of a woman who took him in, court heard this morning.

Ronald MacPherson is on trial in Kelowna provincial court on charges of assault, pointing a firearm and obstructing police. He held cops at bay for seven hours beginning late on June 22, 2009, at a home on the 5900 block of Highway 97 South in Peachland. Traffic on that portion of the highway was detoured during the incident.

A police negotiator eventually convinced MacPherson to leave the house around 5 a.m. the next day.

Denise Robillard testified that she took in MacPherson, with whom she had a relationship about five years prior, in November 2008. She said their relationship was not intimate, and quickly dissolved over his refusal to help out around the house.

“I paid the bills. I paid the rent. I bought the food,” Robillard said, adding MacPherson took up residence in her living room.

On the night in question, she was making preparations to travel to Calgary following the death of her uncle. She didn’t want to leave MacPherson alone in her home, so she told him she was going to phone 911 to have police remove him from the house.

“I knew it was going to get to the point where things were going to get ugly,” she recalled.

Robillard testified that just as she was about to dial for help, her cousin phoned and she instructed the cousin to phone 911 for her.

MacPherson, she said, then “reappeared through the door of my bedroom with a sawed-off shotgun he had just finished loading and had it pointed at my head.”

After a struggle for the gun, MacPherson retreated with the weapon to the living room and loaded more ammunition into the weapon, she continued. He punched her onceĀ  the chin, and she responded by throwing two TV remotes at him, one of which hit him near his left eye, she testified.

Robillard went on to say she spent the next half-hour or hour trying to convince MacPherson to give himself up, before he allowed her to leave.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Stan Tessmer, Robillard admitted to discrepancies between her testimony today and her statements to police regarding whether or not she thought the gun was loaded.

She was also asked why she told police at the time that she wasn’t scared, and why she testified today that she was terrified.

“I wasn’t scared then,” she clarified. “I was dealing with what I had to deal with at that moment.”

Robillard also admitted that she slept with MacPherson – although they weren’t intimate – and told the court about the variety of prescription drugs she took to help her sleep and deal with the effects of fibromyalgia.

The trial continues this afternoon.

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