LETHBRIDGE: Three major murder cases in both our city and region were set for trial Monday morning at the Lethbridge courthouse.
The most recent case is that of 37-year old Michael Stanley Charles Mitchell of Raymond and 21-year old Addison Nickoles Wakefield of Lethbridge. The two were arrested February 1st, in connection with the death of 58-year old George Robert Span on January 14th of this year. Police have called it a targeted incident associated with the drug trade.
That case has been set for trial by judge and jury February 24th, and is expected to take two weeks to resolve.
The second case, dating back to January of 2012, involves 36-year old Timmy Douglas Engel of Claresholm. RCMP allege that Engel took 77-year old Otto "Bunty" Loose from his Vulcan home January 8th, then drove to Nanton and Claresholm, where the accused attempted several suspicious banking transactions. After that, the victim was allegedly murdered at a rural location near Claresholm.
The judge and jury trial is expected to last about four weeks, and because of the time needed, it won't go ahead until October 6th of 2014.
The third case is one that goes all the way back to October 13th of 2010. Early that morning Picture Butte RCMP responded to a complaint of gun shots from a residence near the town of Shaughnessy, where they found the body of 24-year old Mauro Hernandez-Renteria. The suspect, Luis Alfonso Ochoa-Gamez, fled Canada and was arrested trying to cross from the United States into Mexico. Police allege that incident was also over a drug dispute.
That trial, which again will be by judge and jury, is scheduled for June 2nd of 2014 and is expected to run for three weeks.
It was noted that all three cases had to be set for so far down the road because of limited available court time in Lethbridge.