Crown prosecutors and the lawyer defending the man accused of shooting a Red Deer senior outside a city Walmart last December appear to be getting closer to resolving the case without going to trial.
Defence lawyer Rory Ziv told a Red Deer judge on Wednesday there had been “some very productive discussions” with the Crown prosecutor on resolving the charges against Chase Freed, including second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
In case a resolution is not reached, Ziv scheduled a five-day preliminary hearing and the pretrial conference with prosecutors that would proceed it.
Freed, 19, appeared in court through a video link with the Edmonton Remand Centre.
“I’m hopeful that we can resolve the file by that … date,” Ziv told Red Deer provincial court Judge Gordon Yake.
C.J. “Jim” Williams, 69, was shot and killed outside Red Deer’s south Walmart at about 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 20.
Police said Williams and his wife had just left the store, busy with Christmas shoppers, when he was confronted in the parking lot by a masked man armed with a sawed-off semi-automatic rifle.
Williams was shot and fatally wounded.
The alleged shooter jumped into a waiting SUV with a woman at the wheel. As they fled, police allege Freed fired shots at two other bystanders, but missed them both.
Freed is also facing charges of flight from police, dangerous driving and theft of a motor vehicle.
The driver, Crystal Maurice, is facing four charges, including accessory after the fact to murder.