A coroner’s inquest convened today in Fort St. John to begin an inquest into the death of a man hours after his arrest last summer.
On August 28th 2007, Larry McPherson was pronounced dead at Fort St. John General Hospital following an altercation with police.
The inquest began with instructions from Regional Coroner Shane DeMeyer, who presided. DeMeyer told a jury of four women and one man the purpose of the inquest was to make reccommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future, and to satisfy the community in that respect. The jury will be charged with classifying McPherson’s death under one of five categories: natural, accidental, suicide, homicide or undetermined.
DeMeyer also stressed that, unlike a trial, there was no compulsion for the jury to find fault or hold anyone responsible for the death.
Today the jury heard statements from three witnesses, a police officer, a security guard and a taxi driver, who saw McPherson in the days and hours leading up to his arrest.
The inquest is expected to last two more days, during which the jury will also hear from a forensic pathologist, police, paramedics and McPherson’s sister.