Murder hearing begins

A four-day preliminary hearing for one of two men charged in the murder of a Red Deer man almost three years ago opened on Monday with police witnesses and testimony from one of the accused.

A four-day preliminary hearing for one of two men charged in the murder of a Red Deer man almost three years ago opened on Monday with police witnesses and testimony from one of the accused.

Brent William Crouse, 45, of Calgary, is charged with first-degree murder and being an accessory after the fact to murder in the April 16, 2007, death of Sheldon Mark Hiller, 46.

This is the second attempt to conduct Crouse’s preliminary. He switched lawyers last summer, causing a delay.

Court heard earlier, at the sentencing of a third man charged in the murder, that Hiller had been stabbed numerous times in the chest and torso. His body was found by a construction worker in a ditch about 800 metres west of Raven.

Larry Allen Scott, 53, of Red Deer, who was a witness on Monday, is charged with second-degree murder and being an accessory to murder. He is scheduled to return of Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench again in September. Ten days were booked for his trial, beginning on Sept. 13, before a judge and jury.

Charles Richard Beckett, 48, is also scheduled to testify this week.

He was sentenced to two years in jail, satisfied by time served, after pleading guilty to accessory after the fact to murder in Queen’s Bench last spring. Beckett was in jail for a year.

Scott remains in custody following his arrest a few days after the murder.

Crouse has been in custody since his arrest about a month after the murder.

A preliminary is held to determine if there’s enough evidence to warrant an accused stand trial in Queen’s Bench.

Court heard earlier that Beckett accompanied three other men, including the victim, for a ride from Red Deer to the Raven area on April 16, 2007.

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