‘Lisa can be at peace’

Vic­tim’s mother sat­is­fied with judge’s de­ci­sion of man­slaugh­ter in Cal­gary trial

Cape Breton Post - - Canada -

A judge has re­jected a Cal­gary man’s ar­gu­ment that he acted in self-de­fence af­ter years of do­mes­tic abuse when he stran­gled his wife and en­tombed her body in their base­ment.

Jus­tice Rose­mary Na­tion found Al­lan Shy­back guilty of the lesser of­fence of man­slaugh­ter rather than sec­ond­de­gree mur­der.

The judge says not all of Shy­back’s ac­tions were made in panic, but his in­ten­tions in killing Lisa Mitchell in Cal­gary al­most five years ago weren’t en­tirely clear.

“He is left re­spon­si­ble for a cul­pa­ble homi­cide,” Na­tion said in her ver­dict Thurs­day.

“I am left with a rea­son­able doubt on the in­ten­tion of the ac­cused.”

Shy­back, 40, tes­ti­fied he had been the vic­tim of do­mes­tic abuse for nearly a decade and Mitchell had at­tacked him with a knife the day she was killed.

Na­tion said the force Shy­back used to fend off Mitchell, who was 31, was rea­son­able un­til the cou­ple fell to the ground.

“Once the cou­ple was on the floor there was no sug­ges­tion Lisa Mitchell was ca­pa­ble or threat­en­ing with the knife. She was clearly over­pow­ered,” said Na­tion.

“The knife was out of her hand at some point when she was on the floor. I find the ac­cused was us­ing force that was more than nec­es­sary.”

Mitchell was last seen in Cal­gary in Oc­to­ber 2012.

An un­der­cover po­lice op­er­a­tion started in 2013 and ended with Shy­back’s con­fes­sion and ar­rest in Win­nipeg a year later.

The judge said it came down to whether Shy­back was guilty of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der or man­slaugh­ter.

“The ev­i­dence raises a rea­son­able doubt in my mind that the ac­cused had the in­ten­tion

to kill Lisa Mitchell or that he meant to cause bod­ily harm that he knew was likely to cause death,” said Na­tion.

“In con­clu­sion I find the ac­cused guilty of the lesser and in­cluded of­fence of man­slaugh­ter of Lisa Mitchell.”

Shy­back was also found guilty of caus­ing an in­dig­nity to a body for putting Mitchell’s re­mains in a Rub­ber­maid con­tainer and ce­ment­ing it into a wall in the base­ment of their


Mitchell’s mother, who tes­ti­fied at the trial, said the re­sult was prob­a­bly as good as could be ex­pected.

“It’s over. It’s done. We can get on with our lives. I was sat­is­fied with the de­ci­sion and that was the best we could hope for,” Peggy Mitchell said out­side court.

“We’re just glad that ev­ery­thing is done and Lisa can be at peace.”

Mitchell was asked if she be­lieved Shy­back was a vic­tim of do­mes­tic abuse.

“I be­lieve they both were. It was the same on ei­ther side.”

Pros­e­cu­tor Jayme Williams will not ap­peal.

Sen­tenc­ing ar­gu­ments are sched­uled for Sept. 20. The max­i­mum sen­tence for man­slaugh­ter is life in prison. The max­i­mum for in­dig­nity to a hu­man body is five years in prison.


Lisa Mitchell’s mother Peggy Mitchell and brother Ryan Mitchell speak to the me­dia out­side a Cal­gary court­house on Thurs­day.

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