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Closing arguments delayed in trial of Alberta Mounties charged with manslaughter

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Cpl. Randy Stenger, left, and Const. Jessica Brown, return to court to resume their jury trial on charges of manslaughter with a firearm and aggravated assault, in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. Closing arguments in the three-week trial are to begin today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

EDMONTON — Closing arguments in the trial of two Alberta Mounties charged with manslaughter have been delayed.

Lawyers were to present their final statements to the jury Wednesday but are now scheduled to do so Thursday.

Const. Jessica Brown and Cpl. Randy Stenger are accused in the fatal shooting of Clayton Crawford on July 3, 2018, near Whitecourt, northwest of Edmonton.

Both officers testified they feared for their safety and acted in self-defence.

The pair shot Crawford 10 times as he was inside a purple pickup truck at a rest stop.

A day earlier, a truck matching the same description was seen leaving the area of a shooting in the hamlet of Valhalla Centre.

When RCMP were notified about the truck being at the rest stop, court heard there was confusion about whether its driver was considered a target or suspect in that shooting.

The jury was also told that when Brown and Stenger approached the truck, it appeared as if the man in the driver's seat was sleeping.

Brown testified she saw Crawford reach between his legs. A third officer broke the driver's window with a baton and there was a struggle.

Brown said Crawford started the truck and began driving backward. She said she thought he was using the truck as a weapon and she feared for her life and the lives of her colleagues.

Stenger testified Crawford was trying to run them over, and it was an automatic reaction for him to fire his gun.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

The Canadian Press