Calgary officer found not guilty in neglect of duty prior to young woman’s murder
A Calgary police officer charged with neglect of duty in relation to a 2012 murder has been found not guilty — news that was met with shock by a grieving mother.
Lacey Jones-McKnight was murdered in October of 2012. The 20-year-old was strangled to death by her ex-fiancee, Kristopher Guenther.
He is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, but it’s what transpired in the weeks before Jones-McKnight’s life was taken that has tortured her mother, Shelly Jones.
Const. Natalie Frei responded to a domestic violence call involving McKnight-Jones and Guenther three weeks before Jones-McKnight’ death. No witness statement was taken and the file was marked inactive.
Frei officer was charged with neglect of duty and had been facing possible internal discipline in relation to the situation — but the judge at the hearing found her not guilty on Friday.
“That’s why I fought for six years now, to have this officer accountable,” Jones said. “This should never happen again. No parent should ever have to question whether a cop did their job or not and have to look back at their murdered child’s case and see where there were numerous mistakes were made and have those what ifs.”
“I do not blame this officer for Lacey’s death, there’s only one person accountable for that. But I do believe things could have been different had this officer followed protocol,” Jones said.
“Lacey would have at least had a chance.”
The judge said it wasn’t “a perfect investigation,” but there was no wilful neglect and the officer was using her judgement and complied with police policies.
Jones plans to appeal the decision to the law enforcement review board.
“It’s not over. I’m not done, not by a long shot.”
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