‘Sound tests’ from Stobbe’s yard cast suspicion

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In the days following Beverly Rowbotham’s murder, RCMP conducted several experiments that would cast suspicion on husband Mark Stobbe.

Stobbe, a former senior political advisor, is accused of bludgeoning Rowbotham to death with a hatchet following an argument in the backyard of their St. Andrews, Man., home, Oct. 24, 2000.

Jurors have heard evidence Stobbe said he fell asleep in front of the TV and awoke early in the morning to find Rowbotham had not returned home from a late night shopping trip. Rowbotham’s body was found inside the couple’s Crown Victoria, near a Selkirk, Man., auto garage.

Retired RCMP Cpl. Randy Randell told jurors police conducted a number of “sound tests” to determine the likelihood of someone inside the house not hearing someone being attacked outside.

Randell said he sat in a bedroom while another officer yelled for help outside.

“I could hear him quite clearly,” Randell said.

In another experiment, Randell sat in the living room with the TV on while another officer activated the garage door opener several times.

“I could hear the garage door going up and down … It was quite distinct,” Randell said.

Prosecutors allege Stobbe dragged or carried Rowbotham’s body from the backyard to the garage, put her in the back seat of the car and then drove to Selkirk. Prosecutors say Stobbe then rode home 14 km on a bicycle.

Randell said police drove a car similar to the Crown Victoria into Stobbe’s garage, and parked it beside the couple’s other car, a Dodge…

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