Voir dire begins into murder case

A Court of Queen’s Bench justice who has handled at least one other local high-profile case is presiding over a murder trial that opened on Monday.

A Court of Queen’s Bench justice who has handled at least one other local high-profile case is presiding over a murder trial that opened on Monday.

Justice Doreen Sulyma of Edmonton started hearing evidence on Monday in a voir dire that is expected to run all week.

Brian Clarence Volker, 50, of Delburne is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife Debi Volker, 44. First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.

Volker is also charged with, breaking and entering and committing an offence, using a firearm to commit an offence, a single count of breaching conditions of a release from custody and three counts of failing to comply with previous court orders.

The accused, who remains in custody, was charged on Feb. 23, 2009, after Debi Volker was found shot dead in her Delburne home.

A publication ban was imposed on evidence from the Volker voir dire.

The voir dire, or a trial within a trial, involves testimony that can’t be heard by a jury until the judge rules if it’s admissible or not.

The jury won’t be selected until next week, following Sulyma’s voir dire decision.

Crown prosecutor Anders Quist said before the start of the voir dire that the court didn’t want to tie up a jury for the week of the voir dire so put off selection until next week.

Quist is assisted by Denis Huot while Volker is defended by Patty MacNaughton, who will be assisted by former Red Deer lawyer Roxanne Prior, who now practises in Ontario.

Sulyma previously heard the case of Gerard John Baumgarte, 57, of Red Deer. She sentenced him to 18 years in jail in March 2010 for sexual assault and other convictions. He had posed as a police officer and kidnapped a 16-year-old girl on Feb. 26, 2009.

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