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Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Inmate sentence for second degree murder in jail attack

Drumheller Institution

An inmate who was serving at the Drumheller Institution was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Ashley Baird, 38, appeared in Court of King’s Bench on Monday, May 28 via closed circuit television. He was scheduled for a two-week trial in the murder of fellow inmate Jeffery Ryan. Baird entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder.
The court heard that on the evening of January 26, 2022, Ryan, who was 34 at the time was in Unit 9 at the Drumheller Institution, he was talking to his mother on the phone. He was sitting on a chair with his back to a cell. At 8:15 p.m. Baird is seen peering from his cell. A minute later he exited the cell and using an eight-inch jail-made weapon, stabbed Ryan in the right side of his neck. Ryan got up and correction officers gave him medical assistance. An inmate said they heard Baird say “I killed him.”
Two more corrections officers approached and ordered Baird to drop the weapon. He complied.
Officers administered medical assistance to Ryan until he was taken by EMS to the Drumheller Health Centre where he died.
The attack was captured on security video, and was turned over to the RCMP.
In January 2023 an autopsy determined he died as a result of the attack, and a report on Baird indicated that while he had mental health issues, these did not preclude him from prosecution.
Ryan’s mother and sister were in court for his guilty plea and sentencing and each provided a victim impact statement.
“My love for him has no boundaries,” said Dianna Waters in her statement. As Ryan’s sister, she was 15 years older and at times had a relationship that was more of a parent than sibling.
“My heart is broken in pieces, part of my soul is gone.”
The Crown and Defence agreed to a joint submission of life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 10 years. Mitigating factors were that he entered a guilty plea, saving the court the expense of a trial. Aggravating factors include that it happened in an institutional setting, using a jail-made weapon and that it was a seemingly random attack.
King’s Bench Justice C.D. Simard went along with the joint submission noting that it was fair, just and proportional.
Baird was sentenced to live in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years, and a lifetime ban on weapons. No contact with family members of Ryan during his custodial sentence, and to provide a DNA sample to authorities.


Old life gets new exhibit

10 Credit Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

The Royal Tyrrell Museum is exploring the earliest life on earth as part of its new and redesigned gallery in 2024.
The First Life exhibit at the Royal Tyrrell Museum opened on Friday, May 17. President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance and MLA for Drumheller-Stettler Nate Horner, joined the Tyrrell’s staff and visitors to mark the occasion.
The new exhibit explores the evolution of the earliest life on Earth, from microbes to multi-cellular animals, and features recently discovered Canadian fossils that provide evidence that has revolutionized scientists’ understanding of the evolution of modern animals.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s new, 163-square-metre gallery space features captivating new videos, illustrations, models and hands-on interactive activities that create a unique experience for visitors.
“For almost forty years, the Royal Tyrrell Museum has shared the remarkable story of Alberta’s palaeontological past with millions of visitors from around the world. With the redevelopment of this exhibit, we seek to ignite wonder and curiosity by highlighting the strange and remarkable creatures that were some of the earliest forms of life on Earth,” said Lisa Making, executive director, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.
The First Life exhibit showcases fossils from the Precambrian era, a span of time from 4.6 billion to 539 million years ago, and from the Cambrian era, a span of time from 539 to 485 million years ago. In addition to the fossils already on display at the museum, some of the fossils are also from Yoho National Park in British Columbia and are on long-term loan from the Royal Ontario Museum.
“The journey through time at the Royal Tyrrell Museum begins at First Life. This new exhibit sheds light on the strange life that existed hundreds of millions of years ago and provides visitors with the most up-to-date interpretations of what those organisms looked like and how they lived,” said Craig Scott, director, of preservation and research, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.
The redevelopment of the gallery spaces began in November 2023 and the cost of the new exhibit and gallery was $379,000. The Burgess Shale diorama, a favourite of many visitors, is the only exhibit element that has been kept in place from before the renovations. Improvements made to the space include reduced wall heights to allow for a glass wall overlooking Dinosaur Hall, providing better views for everyone.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum has reached a milestone with 500,000+ visitors in both 2023 and 2022 and revenues in 2023-24 were almost $6.3 million.
“The Tyrrell is already a world-class attraction that showcases the amazing history of our region. This new exhibit will attract even more visitors and demonstrate the very origins of life on our planet, boosting the economy in southern Alberta and the Canadian Badlands for decades to come,” said Horner.

photo courtesy Royal Tyrrell Museum

Vancouver police officer trekking across Canada for cancer

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The Drumheller Valley sees hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, all with different stories or motivations. For Dayne Campbell, it is his dedication to a cause and to his family.
Campbell is a Sergeant in the Vancouver Police Department, and for many years, he showed his support for Cops for Cancer. In fact, in 2013, he rode in his 15th consecutive ride.
“I have done a 1,000-kilometre tour for 15 years in a row, and last year I hung up the helmet, I got a signed jersey from the team, and I was going to move into a more steering committee position, and my own daughter, a month later, got cancer,” explained Campbell. “Things quickly changed as cancer does with people.”
His teenage daughter, who is an avid gymnast, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called myxoid liposarcoma.
With blessings from his family, he put the helmet back on, and this time, rather than a 1,000-kilometre tour, he is taking on an over 7,000-kilometre tour across the county to raise funds and awareness.

“I want to get the word out to help more kids going through a journey with cancer,” he said.
Last Wednesday, members of the local RCMP detachment provided Campbell with a police escort into the valley and then showed him off the next morning.
He has a goal of raising $40,000, and the funds will go towards kids’ programs, including a Western Canada camp where they send upwards of 500 kids, who are going through a journey with cancer. The other is pediatric cancer research. So far, he has raised over $32,000 and counting.
“They are two very important things… that are near and dear to our heart, and Cops for Cancer over the last 25-plus years has raised over $50 million.
On top of a monetary goal, he wishes to spread awareness of the program and what it supports.
“One of the main reasons I am doing this is Cops for Cancer is big in Western Canada, but as you go east across Canada, a lot of municipalities and local police departments are not aware, or it hasn’t expanded out east to Eastern Canada. As I go, the Canadian Cancer Society folks, with the help of our media departments and a lot of friends and family are putting the word out to different detachments as I go,” he said.
His stop in Drumheller was by design, as it has always been a place he wished to visit.
“There are definitely a lot more direct routes to get across Canada on a bicycle but wanted to see and explore a lot of the things Canada has to offer, and Drumheller is definitely one of these,” said Campbell.
He usually averages about 100- 150 kilometres a day, but one of his longest stretches was in the area of 250 km as he explored the Kootenays.
To follow his journey or to donate, search Dayne’s Journey across Canada.


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