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Murder trial date to be set

A trial date will be set early in March for a man accused of murdering a young woman from Red Deer and then dumping her body in a ditch.

Bashir Gaashaan, 30, was arraigned in Red Deer Court of Queen’s bench on Tuesday after pleading not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, committing an indignity to a body and unlawful confinement in relation to the disappearance and death of Jenna Cartwright.

Cartwright, 21, was reported missing on April 12, 2011. Her partially-clothed body was found in a ditch about 14 km northeast of Olds on May 3 of that year.

RCMP investigators believe she died on March 30.

Gaashaan has been in custody since his arrest in Thunder Bay, Ont., on June 20, 2011.

Defense counsel Will Willms told Justice Monica Bast in court on Tuesday that attempts to negotiate a resolution with the Crown had failed and that his client was therefore prepared to proceed to trial.

Crown prosecutor Jason Snider said Gaashaan must be tried before a judge and jury because of the first-degree murder charge.

Snider and Willms will negotiate a trial date in Court of Queen’s Bench on March 4.

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