Local briefs – April 2

A judge and jury first-degree murder trial has been postponed because the accused is seriously ill in hospital.

Murder trial postponed

A judge and jury first-degree murder trial has been postponed because the accused is seriously ill in hospital.

The four-week trial for Blair Andrew Neill, 41, of Red Deer had been set to start on April 12.

However, Neill’s lawyer Lorne Goddard and Crown prosecutor Jason Snider agreed to adjourn the case on Thursday. It now will return to Court of Queen’s Bench on April 12 to hopefully set a new date. If the trial proceeds, it isn’t expected to be held until 2011.

Neill was charged in the Aug. 26, 2008, downtown stabbing death of Nathan Casey, 35, formerly of Pugwash, N.S.

RCMP and emergency personnel were called to an altercation in the 4700 block on 54th Street and found the accused with wounds believed from a baseball bat.

They later discovered Casey with a stab wound, in a vehicle parked near 55th Street and 47th Avenue. He later died from his injury.

Neill had been free on bail following his arrest but was arrested again earlier this year for three counts of breaching court orders.

He was granted release again on Wednesday in provincial court on those charges.

Cyclist’s name not yet public

Innisfail RCMP Traffic Services have had to take some time confirming the identity of a cyclist who was killed while crossing Hwy 2 by Gasoline Alley.

A 48-year-old man, who was not wearing any reflective clothing and was on a bicycle without any lights, was struck down by a sport utility vehicle during the evening of March 21. He was instantly killed.

On Thursday, lead investigator Const. Chris Warren said police had an idea at the beginning as to who the cyclist was.

“But it took a while to confirm who he actually was because of the lifestyle he led,” Warren said.

Warren said he still must speak with the family and at that point, a name may be released.

The four people inside the sport utility vehicle were not injured.

Police said alcohol and speed were not factors in the collision. Road conditions were clear and dry at the time.

Potters exhibiting their work

From modern abstract sculptures to functional bowls and vases, a diverse array of original clay works is being showcased at the Red Deer Public Library.

Six members of the Red Deer Pottery Club are exhibiting the creative output of their combined experience at the Kiwanis Gallery downstairs at the library until May 2.

Their Diversity in Clay display features traditionally fired pieces, as well those done in the raku and naked raku (black-and-white) methods.

Artists Karen Brodie, Issy Covey, Sharon Grinde, Joyce Kibermanis, Debbie Wilson and Jean Nichols will attend an opening reception on Friday, April 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Snell Auditorium of the library.

Spring Fling this Sunday

The hunt will be on for Easter eggs at the annual Easter Spring Fling at Kerry Wood Nature Centre on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

The family afternoon features crafts, activities, prizes and nature egg hunts.

Children will hunt for colourful plastic eggs with tidbits of nature information hidden inside.

The egg hunt for children up to age five happens at 2 p.m. Six-to-nine-year olds will hunt at 2:45 p.m. and children 10 to 12 will hunt at 3:30 p.m.

Admission is a suggested donation of $3 per person or $10 per family.

For more information, call 403-346-2010. Kerry Wood Nature Centre is located at 6300 45th Ave.