Stobbe has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. He was arrested in 2008 following an extensive RCMP investigation. Stobbe had moved to Saskatoon, where he was serving as executive director of the Saskatchewan Craft Council. He has been free on bail since shortly after his arrest.
A court-ordered ban prevents specific evidence of the preliminary hearing from being published. Provincial court Judge John Guy must decide if there is sufficient evidence to order Stobbe to stand trial.
Rowbotham, 42, was found dead inside her tan Ford Crown Victoria in a gas station parking lot in Selkirk in the early morning of Oct. 25, 2000. Immediately after her killing, the RCMP assured the public there was no reason to fear a random killer was on the loose, but never said why.
Rowbotham, Stobbe and their children had moved from Regina about five months before the slaying when Stobbe accepted a senior position on the provincial cabinet's community and economic development committee. It co-ordinates major projects in Manitoba that require interdepartmental collaboration.
Stobbe had been a high-ranking adviser to former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow before coming to Manitoba. In the late 1980s he had also served as an assistant in the Saskatchewan constituency office of then-NDP MLA Pat Atkinson. Now NDP deputy leader, Atkinson refused comment Tuesday on Stobbe's arrest.
Rowbotham grew up in Regina and graduated with a BA from the University of Saskatchewan in 1978. She and Stobbe married in 1993 and lived in Regina, where she worked for several years in the Saskatchewan Public Service Commission until moving to Manitoba.
Hearing in Rowbotham murder underway
A preliminary hearing has begun for a former Manitoba government official accused of killing his wife nearly 10 years ago.
Mark Stobbe, 52, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of 42-year-old Beverley Rowbotham.
Stobbe, who once served as a senior advisor to Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow, has been free on bail since the spring of 2008, a short time after his arrest.
The hearing before provincial court Judge John Guy is scheduled for three weeks. Details of the hearing cannot be printed due to a publication ban.
Because of Stobbe’s former connection to the provincial government, the case has been assigned to a prosecutor from B.C.
Rowbotham, a mother of two boys, was found dead in her car in a parking lot near Selkirk in October 2000. She had been bludgeoned to death.
Rowbotham and her family had moved to the province five months earlier after Stobbe accepted a job with a provincial economic development committee.
Stobbe moved to Saskatchewan following his wife’s death. At the time of his arrest he was executive director of the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s office in Saskatoon.
RCMP cold case investigators dealt with prosecutors in B.C. to charge Stobbe. Mounties were unable to deal directly with the Manitoba Crown Attorney’s office because of a potential conflict of interest.
The file was given to B.C.’s prosecutions branch in November 2007 for an opinion on whether there was enough evidence to charge a suspect, a Manitoba Justice official said at the time of Stobbe’s arrest.