Alleged arsonists postpone bail hearings

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Two High Prairie men charged in connection with a fire that damaged an historic Catholic Church in Grouard on May 22 were scheduled to next appear in court in June 19.

Gerald Kenneth Capot, 50, and Kenneth Randy Ferguson, 56, were first scheduled to appear in Slave Lake Court of Justice on June 14. Capot was scheduled for bail hearing; however, the hearing did not proceed.

Capot’s lawyer C. McMahon appeared on video to request the bail hearing be adjourned to June 19 in High Prairie Court of Justice.

McMahon explained she was still waiting on a date Capot could be admitted to a residential treatment program.

Ferguson’s lawyer Dallas Gelineau was represented by an agent, Derek Renzini, who told court Gelineau wasn’t ready to run a bail hearing so he requested the matter go over to July 10 in High Prairie.

However, since the two are charged together, Justice D.R. Shynkar set the matters for both men over to June 19 in High Prairie.

Capot and Ferguson were in custody in Peace River Correctional Centre on June 14 and both were not required to appear.

They were both charged with arson of property of others and break-and-enter to commit theft after fire heavily damaged the St. Bernard Mission Church on May 22.

An RCMP news release says police responded to a report of a fire at the 121-year-old building around 3:30 p.m.

“Preliminary investigation indicates it is suspicious in nature,” says Const. Julie-Ann Strilaiff, Media Relations Officer, Peace Regional RCMP.

Capot and Ferguson were charged May 23.

Big Lakes County Fires Services responded to the call with crews from Grouard, Enilda and Joussard.

High Prairie Fire Department also responded.

The building contained many historical and unique items, including paintings by the first missionary bishop of the region, Bishop Emile Grouard.

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