Winnipeg man pleads guilty to manslaughter in death of Saskatchewan RCMP officer

Saskatchewan RCMP Const. Shelby Patton, 26, was killed on duty on June 12, 2021, when he was struck by a stolen vehicle.  (Saskatchewan RCMP - image credit)
Saskatchewan RCMP Const. Shelby Patton, 26, was killed on duty on June 12, 2021, when he was struck by a stolen vehicle. (Saskatchewan RCMP - image credit)

A Winnipeg man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in the June 2021 death of Saskatchewan RCMP Const. Shelby Patton.

Patton was killed on June 12, 2021, while conducting a traffic stop in Wolseley, Sask., a town east of Regina. The driver of the vehicle Patton had stopped — which had been stolen in Manitoba — accelerated, hitting and killing the 26-year-old officer.

Alphonse Stanley Traverse was originally charged with manslaughter, but the charge was upgraded to first-degree murder in November 2021.

Under the Criminal Code, the murder of an on-duty officer is automatically considered first-degree murder.

Traverse pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter during a hearing Wednesday at Court of King's Bench in Regina.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of theft of a motor vehicle.

'I'm living in hell'

Melanie Patton, the mother of the fallen officer, said she's relieved the man who killed her son has taken responsibility.

She said the guilty plea lifts a weight off the family's shoulders, but a long path remains ahead.

"It's still trauma. There's just having to go to court — just trying to do the victim impact statement is terrible," she said.

"And then I do still feel like I'm living in hell because he's not here."

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton was killed on duty on June 12, 2021. His family said he's remembered as their 'Superman' and a dedicated husband and officer. From left: Matthew Zimroz, Kaela Patton, Ashley Patton and Melanie Patton.
RCMP Const. Shelby Patton was killed on duty on June 12, 2021. His family said he's remembered as their 'Superman' and a dedicated husband and officer. From left: Matthew Zimroz, Kaela Patton, Ashley Patton and Melanie Patton.

Melanie Patton, right, says the death of her son Const. Shelby Patton put a dark cloud over their family. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Melanie said the years since her son's death have been "absolutely terrible." She described the death as having put a dark cloud over their family, and there's still no coming out of it.

"I just want to make sure everyone knows that it was not an accident and at the same time, Shelby did not make a mistake," she said.

Traverse is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 29, 2024.

Marlene Velma Louise Pagee, another resident of Winnipeg, is facing one count of accessory after the fact to murder for her role in Patton's death.