2018-06-20 / News

Canadian field trial champion on trial for murdering dog owner

Waynesboro residents testify
ANGELA SAXON
True Citizen Intern


Former True Citizen Associate Editor Elizabeth Billips sits in the sheriff’s office while being questioned about her 2005 article on Panovski. Former True Citizen Associate Editor Elizabeth Billips sits in the sheriff’s office while being questioned about her 2005 article on Panovski. Two Waynesboro residents have testified in a high profile Canadian murder case.

Elizabeth Billips and Nell Mobley, who both have ties to the Georgia Field Trials, put their right hands on The Bible, looked into a laptop computer and explained to a jury more than 2,000 miles away how their pasts had crossed with 72-yearold Boris Panovski, a former bird dog breeder and trainer who stands accused of murder in the first degree.

Though the pair was originally subpoenaed and ordered to report to Ontario, Canada, for as many as three weeks, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) worked with the Crown Attorney to have them sworn in and questioned at the sheriff’s office here via web chat.

In 2014, Panovski was arrested for murder and attempted murder after allegedly shooting Don Frigo and his wife, Willer, off their horses at a Canadian conservation area where they were training dogs.


Nell Mobley acknowledges that Panovski contacted her twice three years after his arrest in Waynesboro. Nell Mobley acknowledges that Panovski contacted her twice three years after his arrest in Waynesboro. Frigo, a Canadian businessman and two-time national field trial champion, died at the scene while his wife was severely wounded.

Some say the murder was an act of revenge that began building some nine years earlier during the annual field trials in Burke County.

That’s when Panovski was jailed and an embarrassing news story began circulating among the others running their dogs at the competition at Di-Lane Plantation.

According to the 2005 sheriff’s report, Panvoski was arrested for pandering after allegedly offering a waitress at a Waynesboro restaurant money for sexual favors. The waitress called the sheriff’s office and a public indecency charge was added after Panovski was seen fondling himself in his hotel window, which was next to the eatery.


Don Frigo Don Frigo A London Free Press news story about the murder trial indicated Panovski’s Burke County debacle set off a chain of events that may have led to Frigo’s murder:

“He was at the top of his game, selling his dogs for up to $20,000 a pup…

But in a flash, Panovski’s world fell apart. While in Waynesboro, Ga., in January 2005, the epicentre of field dog competitions, a story appeared in the Waynesboro True Citizen newspaper with the headline, “Pandering Puts Man in Jail.”

The story referred to Panovski by name, age and address … what he had allegedly done.


Boris Panovski Boris Panovski Don Frigo became aware of the allegation and a copy of that newspaper article was found in his possession after his death.

Panovski and the murder victim had close ties through bird dog field trial community, and Frigo had purchased a champion dog from Panovski in 2000 named “Panovski Silver.”

After news of the arrest surfaced, Frigo changed the dog’s name and Panovski was alienated from the bird dog community.

During the trial, The Crown theorized that Panovski held “a deep grudge that Frigo had been instrumental in having him pushed out of the dog circles.”

Billips, former associate editor of The True Citizen, testified that she had authored the brief story. “Mainly, they wanted to confirm that it was a legitimate news article and that I had written it,” she stated after the judge dismissed her.

Supposedly, Panovski’s 2005 charges, on which the article was based, were later dropped, presumably due to the difficulty in prosecuting a Canadian citizen.

Instead, the famous bird dog trainer was banned from Burke County … and subsequently the national field trial arena where he had made a name and career for himself.

That’s where the testimony of Waynesboro resident Nell Mobley, longtime secretary of the Georgia Field Trial Association, came in.

Mobley testified that Panovski sought her help in finding a way “back in” to the county and competition here.

She told the jury that Panovski contacted her twice, begging her to intercede and get the ban lifted so he could compete again.

“He told me, ‘You are a prominent citizen of Burke County, well respected, and you know the sheriff quite well,” Mobley said. “But I told him that I did not want to get involved in that.”

After four weeks of testimony, the prosecution has closed its case. Now, the defense is presenting its side in final stage before the jury is charged with reaching a verdict.

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