Delburne man faces first-degree murder in shooting of estranged wife

A Delburne man charged with shooting his estranged wife to death more than a year ago has been ordered to stand trial before a judge and jury.

Debi Volker

Debi Volker

A Delburne man charged with shooting his estranged wife to death more than a year ago has been ordered to stand trial before a judge and jury.

Brian Clarence Volker, 49, was ordered to stand trial late Wednesday following a preliminary hearing on six of 10 charges laid in connection with the death of Debi Volker, 44, who was found dead in her Delburne residence on Feb. 23, 2009.

Volker, who remains in custody, will stand trail in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on charges of first-degree murder, breaking and entering and committing an offence, breaching conditions of a court order and three counts of failing to comply with court orders.

Charges of using a firearm to commit an offence, using an imitation weapon to commit an offence, careless use or storage of a firearm and assault with a weapon were dismissed by provincial court Judge Bert Skinner.

The hearing concluded in three days after it had been scheduled for five.

Currently, first-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence with no eligibility for parole for 25 years. Second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence with no eligibility for parole for a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years.

Some 10 witnesses testified at the hearing, which was under a publication ban of information heard during the three days.

Information released by the police prior to the hearing is not subject to the ban.

Debi Volker, a mother of three children, was found dead early in the morning and the accused was arrested later that morning at a farm near Delburne. He spent a few days in hospital because of exposure-related injuries.

About 20 family members and friends attended the proceedings during the three days.

A preliminary hearing is held to determine if there’s enough evidence to warrant the accused standing trial.

Volker was ordered to attend Queen’s Bench on April 12 to possibly set a trial date.

The trial, which will take about two weeks, isn’t expected until early 2011.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com