Prelim dates set for Jonson murder suspects

As expected, dates have been set for preliminary hearings for two individuals charged with the first degree murder in July of Mark Douglas Jonson in North Battleford.

Both Nicolas Buck and David Keller made separate closed-circuit TV appearances Thursday before Judge Murray Pelletier in provincial court.

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In his appearance a not guilty plea was entered for Buck on the first degree murder count; the Crown also stayed three other counts of breach of probation, failure to attend court and breach of an undertaking. Other charges Buck still faces have been adjourned until the preliminary hearing date with no pleas entered.

For Buck, his preliminary hearing dates are set for Feb 11 to 13, Feb. 18 to 20 and Feb. 24, in Courtroom #2. Those are scheduled to last all day on each day. The Crown indicated they plan to call 35 witnesses: 16 are non-RCMP, and 19 are RCMP.

A case management meeting has been scheduled for counsel on the morning of Jan. 13 in provincial court and that is expected to go for two hours. The defence indicated they expect further discussions that could reduce the length of the preliminary hearing. The Crown has indicated there will be further disclosure provided in the case to the defence. Buck is remanded to the Feb. 11 date.

For David Keller, who faces the one count of first degree murder, his counsel Erin Little appeared by phone to set the preliminary hearing dates.

The preliminary hearing dates are set for March 30 through April 2, and April 6 in provincial courtroom #2.

The Crown had indicated seven days would have been needed for the preliminary hearing, but Little indicated to the court she believed the length could be reduced to five days through case management discussions. The Crown indicated they plan to call 33 witnesses, 16 non-RCMP and 17 RCMP.

Keller is remanded until that time. A case management meeting is scheduled for Feb. 6 in provincial court at 1:30 p.m. that day.

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