Moments before he was sentenced to life in prison for the cold-blooded murder of his neighbor in broad daylight, an Airdrie man told the court there is no justice in Canada.
“There’s no way a person can defend themselves,” Michael Anthony Roebuck said before Judge Michele Hollins ordered him to serve a minimum of 25 years without parole.
“Canadians don’t feel safe. Courts don’t have their backs and the police don’t have their backs.”
Roebuck’s comments came after the Court of King’s Bench judge completely rejected his claims that he did not intend to kill Daniel MacDonald and he was provoked into shooting the victim.
Hollins also said defense attorneys Krysia Przepiorka and Shelley Moore were correct not to argue that Roebuck, now 63, was acting in self-defense when he shot MacDonald twice in the victim’s driveway with other neighbors looking on and children in the played street
Hollins found Roebuck guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal attack on September 7, 2019.
Roebuck had an ongoing dispute with MacDonald, who lived a few doors away, after the two men’s friendship broke up months before the murder.
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The defense argued that Roebuck was provoked into the deadly attack, which can be reduced to manslaughter, during an altercation the two men had in a nearby gas station parking lot near their homes, just minutes before the murder.
But Hollins said for that defense to succeed, she would have to accept the perpetrator’s claim that MacDonald stood over Roebuck in the parking lot after he pushed him to the ground and threatened to “burn him out.”
Roebuck said he feared the threat meant MacDonald would burn down his house, possibly with him inside.
But Hollins agreed with Crown prosecutors Joe Mercier and James Doran that video from a nearby car wash discredited Roebuck’s claim that the threat occurred.
During Roebuck’s testimony, he said he was knocked down three times by MacDonald and after the third stood over him, pointed at him and made the threat.
But in cross-examination, Doran played the entire exchange between the two fighters showing that MacDonald only knocked Roebuck down once and never stood over him.
The killer claimed the video had been altered, a claim he maintained until the bitter end.
“The travesty that went on with that video will come out one day. That’s all I can say,” he told Hollins in closing his comments in court.
Roebuck’s sentencing was to be delayed as 13 family and friends of the deceased submitted victim impact statements.
But none of them wanted to wait to see Roebuck sent to prison, and they each told Mercier they wanted to retract their statements.
Roebuck will not be eligible for full parole until September 6, 2044. An earlier plea deal worked out by his former attorney, Kim Ross, on a charge of second-degree murder, which Roebuck later denied, would have made him eligible for freedom nine years earlier.
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts